March 2014Occasionally Crafty: March 2014

Thursday, March 27

DIY Window Treatments!

I know I've been talking about making cornices for my windows for awhile now, but I finally finished it! I pretty much followed this tutorial from Brooke at All Things Thrifty, except she used paintable wall paper and I used batting and fabric. I also picked a lighter wood than MDF. 

I had my wood cut at Home Depot. The gentleman was very helpful and I felt so grown up going in and knowing what I needed and coming out with everything to get this project going.

This is what my wood looked like. It didn't need to be super smooth or fancy since it was getting covered. It just needed to but sturdy yet light. One of my windows is quite large so I joined two pieces together with these brackets.

I could not have done this project without my dear friend Jana. She loves working with wood and doing house projects like this. She helped me put it all together and do all the measuring. We had to make sure the cornices went into studs, and the brackets had to go on the walls first, so very precise measuring is necessary.

Here's the inside of one of the cornices. L Brackets hold two pieces together, and a simple pole pocket set holds a wooden dowel to act as a curtain rod.

Here's what it looked like before going up on the wall. 

And here's a good look of how all the hardware looks once it's assembled. 

I also recovered my piano bench. It had a country floral fabric on it which no longer did the room any favors. Here's a before and during shot.

Now here it is ALL DONE! It makes the room look so much better!

Here's a close up of the fabric. It's perfect!

We also took the opportunity during the redecoration phase (and a free quart of paint from ACE hardware), to paint our accent wall and bring the kitchen and living room together.



What do you think of the results? We are just in love with this room even more and can't wait to have lots of guests here to see it in the next few weeks!

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Friday, March 21

How To Create Printables Using Silhouette Studio

I love to make printables!  Some of them make it to the blog, and some I just create for my own personal use.  I usually make them in PicMonkey or Publisher, but each of them has its limits.  A few months ago, a friend tipped me off that you can create your own printables using Silhouette Studio

This is huge- because not only do I have lots of cute shapes I've purchased, but I can use any font on my computer, and I can play with  those fonts to fit and fill the space as necessary!  If you haveStudio, and you like to make printable quotes, invitations, or anything, a few quick steps will have you creating your own in no time flat!

1.  Make sure you have downloaded the latest version of the software.  I have the Designer Edition, so my screen may look a little different, but you can do all the same things in the regular edition.

2.  Download a PDF printer to your computer.  I use CutePDF, though there are several out there.
3.  Start creating!  I'll show you how I made these cute invitations for my daughter's birthday party.

-- Open a new document.
-- Resize your page to whatever you'll be creating.  I generally make my printables 8x10 so people can print them up to that size.  It makes great quality for smaller prints.  I put mine 10x8 so it is in "landscape" mode.
-- Add a rectangle for your background using the rectangle shape tool.  Then, using the fill tool, fill that rectangle with your desired background color.
-- Add any images you want.  You can purchase shapes from the Silhouette store, other .svg sites, or simply import a .jpg or .png file from the internet and trace it.  (Tracing is a whole other subject I'll have to save for another day)
-- Use the text tool to add text as desired. 
--Select your text and use the fill tool to add your desired color to the text.
--This last step is really important.  Silhouette Studio is for cutting files, but we don't want to do that for a printable.  So, make sure you select the cut lines menu, then choose transparent.  Now they won't show up when you print!
4.  Once your document looks the way you want it, you're going to send it to that PDF printer you downloaded.  Go to File-->Print, then choose the PDF printer.

5.  It will ask you to save it somewhere on your computer.  Rename the file and save it somewhere you'll be able to find it.
6.  Once it saves, navigate to that file location, and you should see a PDF file waiting for you!  From there, you can open it and print it on a home computer, or you can use a pdf converter program to change to to a .jpg for printing at a photo lab.

 The quality is not the best on this image because it's been edited about three times for the post, but the actual invitations are crystal clear and fabulous!  Once I know the time of the movie, I can finish these babies up and get them sent out!

Remember, you can follow this process for printable quotes, cupcake wrappers and toppers, and more!

I'm linking this up to Tatertots and Jello (Link Party Palooza) and some of these parties- come check them out with me!
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Tuesday, March 18

Vinyl Kitchen Saying

I love vinyl. I love how easy it is to work with. I love that it adds a great touch to a room and can be as permanent as you want it to be. 
I had this spot over my pantry door in my kitchen that was just begging for some decoration.
I found this saying online, and just had to put it in my kitchen. Those are my rules! I'm no short order cook when it comes to dinner time.
We also have been collecting these coke bottles to put at the top of our cupboards, so i think the coke bottles plus the styling of the vinyl saying give the kitchen a fun vintage-y feel.
Fun. Easy. Cute!
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Saturday, March 15

What You DON'T See: Behind the Scenes at Occasionally Crafty

Okay.  Truth.  I get a little envious when I see beautiful craft rooms like this.

I browse Pinterest and easily get down on myself when I see amazing, creative crafts someone came up with, like this:

Pom Pom Spring Wreath
Does that ever happen to you?  Do you compare what you have or what you've made to what you see online?  I hope, hope, hope that I've never misrepresented our life and all that our projects entail.  We try really hard to "keep it real" and keep our projects accessible to anyone.  So, in the spirit of being "real", here's a peek into this blogger's life "behind the blog"!  

This is my creative space:

Don't ooh and aah all at once ;)

This is our office/guest room/ craft room/ game room/storage closet.  It's decorated with very functional IKEA furniture in a very boyish theme (vintage baseball).  It's stuffed to the gills and usually either a bit cluttered or a complete disaster (I took pictures on a good day!) It's nothing like I would do if this were my very own space.  But, I make it work. 

I use the computer any time I am working with my Silhouette.  I cut the vinyl here at the desk, then usually sit on the floor to weed out any unwanted vinyl.  This can be quite time-consuming, from a few minutes to several hours! To pass the time, this is what I do.

Thank goodness for Hulu Plus!

And this is what I usually look like when working.

Hair up, no makeup, exercise clothes (or yoga pants--same thing, right?) on, yet to shower, etc.

When I have painting or vinyl application to do, I usually end up working on the kitchen counter.  I stand a lot when I craft, and that is the only place tall enough to do so.  In this photo, I'm working on my post for this Spring Subway Art Plaque.  I actually just took a picture of the blank plaque a few minutes before this one.  Sure, my counter looks clean  in my little 2 square feet of space- but look at all the stuff around my project that you don't see in the finished photos!

Once my project is finished, it's time to stage the project for final photos.  My house has terrible lighting pretty much everywhere.  We keep the blinds closed all the time because, well, it's Phoenix, and light=heat.  My AC bill is already outrageous.  Even with the blinds open, it's pretty dark inside.
So, to get the best photos, I usually end up outside.  Here's the photo I took of my subway art:

And here's where I actually took that photo.  Yep- that's my back patio, next to the BBQ.  I have to stand on my tiptoes on that chair and lean over the board as far as I can to get the right perspective.

This Shamrock Pillow was photographed outside also,using chairs and rocks to prop up my backgrounds.  Maybe I should invest in some backdrop holders?

Once the photos are done, it's time to edit them.  I use either Lightroom or PicMonkey, depending on how much time I have.  I have a Canon EOS Rebel T3, with an 18-55mm lens and a fixed 50mm lens (which I love for product shots).  It takes pretty great shots, but editing pumps up the vibrance and helps me balance the colors in a way that is difficult for me to do on my own.  Here's the original photo:

and here's the same one edited.  

Finally, it's time to write the blog post. It takes s a good hour or so just writing, uploading photos, and editing the post.
So, there you have it-- what you see on the blog vs. what my house and process are really like.

Laura and I are always struggling with blog/life balance.  We always wish our photos were better, our staging skills were better, our ideas were better, etc.   There is always something to compare with the thousands of other blogs out there, and when we get caught up in that, it only brings negativity into our lives.

That beautiful craft room I shared at the beginning?  I can say with almost 100 percent surety that it doesn't look like that all of the time.  In blogs and on social media, we want to showcase our best-- but that doesn't mean it is our reality.  It takes a lot of work to make things look beautiful for a blog, and I hope I've never misrepresented that on our blog.  So when what you see on Pinterest, Facebook, or on your favorite blog makes you feel envious (as often happens to me!), remember:

Click on the links below to read more "Behind-the-Scenes" posts!

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