Make Your Own Plate Hanger

plate hanger4

When my husband and I were living in Idaho, we lived in an apartment that had space above the cabinets. Of course I had to use this space for decoration. Decorative plates seemed to be pretty popular in kitchens, so I painted some of our old plastic plates and displayed them above our cabinets.

plate hanger

Once we moved into our current home, the cabinets did not have room for any type of decor {or storage for that matter}. You can imagine my disappointment. Where was I suppose to put my cute decorative plates?! And then it hit me… The wall!! Of course. So many other people put their plates on the wall in the kitchen. But how? Unlike picture frames or other wall decor that already have wall hanging hardware attached on the back, how on earth was I suppose to hang a plate?!

plate hanger1

Here is an easy and simple solution to such a dilemma.

Paper clips and hot glue.

YES! It is literally that easy. Just take a paper clip and hot glue it to where you want it on the back of your plate. Let it dry and hang it on the wall!

plate hanger2

Now I have a place to display my fun and colorful plates!

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Ring Box Photo Frames

I am going to be occasionally re-posting a few of my older posts (2+ years back) that most of you haven’t seen, starting with this fun recycling project!  I hope you enjoy it!

I have a couple of  shoe boxes full of those little boxes that rings, watches, and assorted jewelery come in- both the fancier hinged kind, and the cardboard ones.  Being the recovering pack rat that I am, I still have to look the other way when I am decluttering in my craft room, because they are just so dang cute that I cannot get rid of them!  And anyway, I might be able to turn them into something fantastic, right?

Well, after 12+ years of collecting these little boxes that I might use “someday”, I am finally figuring out how to give them new life!  I hope to share many different ideas; here is my first.

I kept the boxes my engagement ring and wedding band came in, thinking they were just too pretty to throw away.  I wanted to do something sentimental with them, and display them somehow without looking junky.  They reminded me a little of photo frames, and that seemed like a feasible option.

 

I had to rip out the padding so that photos could lay flat over each square opening.  I thought about also ripping out the other piece that covers the hinge, but decided to leave it in.
 
I used E6000 glue to stick the two boxes together, and the drying time was pretty short.  I recommend using some sort of clamp to hold the boxes exactly where you want them.

 

I measured the squares and chose 4 portrait- oriented photos and re-sized them to fit the openings, which for this project was 1.5 x 1.75 inches.  For sentimentality, I had to choose one photo from the day we were engaged, where my husband was actually holding the ring box- it seemed only fitting.  The rest are from right after we were married, and from our reception.

 

I glued each photo over the square opening, and let it dry.  I kind of wish now that I hadn’t left the white strip that covers the hinges, but not enough to rip the whole thing apart and start over.

 

For now, my little frame will live on top of my computer desk.

 

This idea works well if you have 2 identical ring boxes, but you could still use just one with cute results!  I am going to tweak the idea a little more with some of my other gazillion boxes and see what I can come up with.  I would love to see pictures if anyone else tries this (or some other way of recycling a ring box)!

A Grown Up Birthday Party

Last week the local Relief Society (women’s organization) of my church celebrated its birthday (actually later this month it turns 170 years old!) and I was asked to decorate… happy dance!

I didn’t get a ton of great pictures, but I thought I would quickly share what I did (with a small budget too)!

I pretty much had free reign as far as themes go, so I decided to go with simple, bright and colorful (while trying to avoid making it feel too much like a 3rd grade birthday party).

The majority of my budget went towards purchasing round vinyl tablecloths- why are those so much more expensive than rectangular tablecloths?!  We put contrasting tissue paper on top of the tablecloth, then filled mason jars with colorful tissue flowers. See how to make tissue paper flowers here (this is the approximate method I used).

I printed out “Charity Never Faileth” motto place cards which were then embellished with paper flowers.  I downloaded the free word art graphic here.

We had a soup buffet, and there were some amazing soups!  (Think clam chowder, chicken tortilla soup, taco soup, tuscan chicken soup, pumpkin soup, creamy tomato with tortellini…. Yes, I had like 5 bowls, thanks.)  We hung my reusable ruffled streamers on the walls and around the food tables.  Find the tutorial for ruffled streamers here.

Of course we had birthday cake (I’m sad I didn’t get a picture of the cake.  I’m terrible at remembering to take photos at events like this.  I never even think of it most of the time. Wah.).

Besides the table cloths, I think I only spent about $2-3 because I used things I already had (i.e. I’m kind of a packrat and I save used pieces of giftwrap tissue for projects- perfect for these flowers!)

I just have to say that I love being a part of the Relief Society.  I am grateful for so many women who have become role models, sisters, and friends.  Yay for Relief Society!

Valentine’s Day Decor Project

Ok, I know it’s a little late to be making Valentine’s Day decorations, but I felt like I needed to put something love-y up in honor of the day.  Because I ended up having to work today, added to the fact that we are crazy busy with getting some things in order in our house and moving furniture around, I decided I could pause just long enough to pull something from the archives that most of you probably haven’t seen (and it is a pretty fast project!)… enjoy!

Rochelle and I got together over this past weekend and decided we needed to add some LOVE to our home decor for Valentine’s Day! Here is our “heart-themed” result:

I had this old frame from the dollar store, and its backing was really really warped. I ended up taking it off, along with the glass, and giving it a good spray down with some black spray paint. Then I was left with a very empty (but much more attractive) frame.

I thought it would look really cute with something hanging from the top part of the frame, so that’s what led me to this idea – I’ve seen this technique done on wreaths and things like that, but I thought I would try it on a heart!

Here’s how to make this:
1. Trace a heart onto some cardboard from an empty cereal box, and cut it out.
2. Cut out circles about 2- 2.5″ in diameter from desired fabric (I should have counted them, but I would say it was at least 50 circles).
3. Point a pencil into the middle of the circle and pull it tight around the point (so it looks like a cone), and apply hot glue to the end; then stick the circle on the heart, and repeat, adding the subsequent circles close together, so if has a very dense “petal-like” texture.
4. I added the red border, but you could just keep it all one color, or try multiple colors!
5. To hang, I used some ribbon – just made a loop over the frame and hot glued it to the back of the heart. Easy!
6. To hang the frame, same idea – I just glued the ends of some ribbon to the top corners of the frame, and voila! You have a brand new Valentine’s decoration, for FREE!


Do you like?

Here is Rochelle’s version:

I used the same cardboard base as Marissa, but cut out a heart from the center. Then I cut 1- inch wide strips from three different fabrics; a white muslin, a red and white gingham, and red cotton jersey from an old T-shirt (I ♥ recycling!). I tied the strips in tight knots around the border, 3 in a row of the same color, then alternating colors. Lastly, I trimmed all the strips to be the same length. I can’t decide if I like it more with the knots in the back or in the front. I kinda like both ways!

Here’s with the knots in the back…

And this is what it looks like with the knots in the front.

Super easy, and since we used what we already had on hand, we didn’t spend a dime! Now that’s what I call a sweet deal!

Origami Tree Tutorial and Christmas Party Decorations

Don’t miss the tutorial to make one of these lovely trees at the bottom of this post!

This Christmas season has gotten off to a roaring start!  Last Friday we made it to two of the three parties we had scheduled (!) – I guess everyone is trying to get their parties over and done early.  I was put in charge of decorations for our church Christmas party that we had that evening.  Luckily I didn’t have to do it alone- my friend Becca and I decided we make a great creative team despite a budget that did not support our delusions visions of grandeur and working with seating for 220 in a small gym.

The seating arrangements were tough.  Our church has a few long rectangular tables, but mostly round tables, and not enough to seat everyone, so we ended up borrowing rectangular tables.  We arranged two long rows of the rectangular tables, banquet style, and filled the rest of the gym with round tables.  I think almost every seat ended up being filled.  It was cozy- that’s for sure!

To keep our costs down, we made a lot of the decorations ourselves, and used things we already had.  For example, we folded dozens of green origami trees- with the help of friends and family, thankfully!  I bought about $3.00 worth of green butcher paper, measured and cut it into different sized squares, and went to town using an origami pattern my mom shared with me.  I think in total we folded about 20 trees and made several coffee filter wreaths (a big thanks to Marissa, Cara, Becca and Lindsey who all accepted jobs in my Christmas sweatshop).  Aside from the tablecloths, I believe we spent between $10-$15 for the whole thing.

Becca folded probably dozens of silver and gold stars too, which we taped to the accordion doors behind one of the buffet lines.

On the wall behind the buffet tables on the other side of the room, we hung strands of white Christmas lights, 6 wreaths and a few large silver doilies.  Down the long walls on either side were hung small white doilies (as snowflakes), and we hung a few wreaths on the doors.

The tables were covered in red, white, and green tablecloths, and some of them had a contrasting color of tissue paper or napkin in the center.  As centerpieces for the round tables, we used our lovely origami trees and mason jars with assortments of pine cones, Epsom salt, fake red berries, electric tea lights, and jute/ tulle tied around them.

On the banquet tables we put “bouquets” of fresh greenery tied with ribbon, laid end to end and with pine cones and electric tea lights here and there.  We also used a few of the origami trees and some book trees, and long cinnamon sticks tied with ribbon.  Each table was a little different.

I am lucky enough to have fresh fir tree branches at my disposal- for free!  My family lives on a Christmas tree farm and my mom sent me loads of heavenly- smelling greenery by way of Marissa who drove out for Thanksgiving.  (Thanks Mom and Marissa)!

As a decoration for the food table, we used a large vase and arranged silver and gold spray painted branches inside, with a few glass ball ornaments hanging.

 The dessert tables had large tree boughs around the backs, and tomato cage trees.  We put two more tomato cage trees along one of the side walls.  Thank you Pinterest for that idea!

Three of our wreaths; the one on the left is a coffee filter wreath and the one on the right is a book page wreath.

I think it all turned out beautifully and we had so much fun! (PS- Thank you Becca for taking most of the above photos!)  Now, on to the origami tree tutorial.  My disclaimer: I am not an origami pro, and I really don’t know all the technical names for folds.  My folding isn’t perfect, and after a while, I’m not so much of a perfectionist anymore!  My only recommendation is to make a sharp crease when folding- use the back of your nail, and try to line up corners evenly as best you can; other than that- it is what it is!  These are not difficult folds once you get the hang of them, but it can be time consuming if you want to make multiple trees, since you will probably need to fold 4 separate papers for each tree.

Origami Trees
These are not difficult folds once you get the hang of them, but it can
be time consuming if you want to make multiple trees, since you will
probably need to fold 4 separate papers for each tree.

You can make this tree on a really large scale, or a very small scale, and it looks great either way.  If you want to make 10″ trees (approximate measurement) like I did for the Christmas party centerpieces, you will need square papers of the following sizes:  12″, 10.5″, 9″, 7.5″.  Or, if you want to customize your tree size for your own needs, a good rule of thumb is that each paper size should decrease by about 1/8.

Let’s start with the “Stacking Tree Bases” for lack of a better term.  You will make three of these in total, in descending size.

1.  Start with your square paper.  You actually want to turn it so the pattern is facing down before step 2.
2.  Fold the paper in half diagonally (bottom to top) to make a triangle- pattern facing out.
3. Open up the paper.
4. Fold in half diagonally again, the other way (right to left), so that the folds look like an X shape.

5. Orient the paper so the triangle point is facing downward.  Put your finger next to the crease to hold the left side in place, and with your other hand, separate the layers of the right side.
6.  Pull the right corner down on top of the bottom corner.
7. Give the folds a nice sharp crease.  You should have a square on top of the triangle now.
8.  Fold the left side of the square up diagonally on top of itself.

9.  Repeat the same fold from step 5- separate the layers of the left corner a bit.  Use your other hand to stabilize the bottom corner while you do this.
10.  Fold the left corner of the original triangle down to the bottom point.
11. Crease the folds sharply.
12. Fold the triangle flap from step 8 back over to the left.

13. Fold diagonally so the the bottom corner of the square matches up with the top corner.  Fold the top layer of right side of the square over diagonally to the left corner.  Fold so the bottom corner matches up with the top corner again.  Repeat until all the squares are folded diagonally (bottom to top).
14. You should have a triangular shape that looks like this.
15. Take the top corner that you just folded and pinch it together, then start pulling it down towards the left corner.
16. Line up the corners and pinch in place.  Grab the right corner and fold it over so that it matches up with the left corner, and the top corner is folded down and sandwiched inside.  Press together, making sure to crease the folds on the paper sandwiched inside.  This picture shows what it looks like when you open it back up a bit.
17. Repeat steps 15 and 16 on the next 3 sides.
18. After you have done this for each of the 4 sides, it should look like this.  You are now done with the base of the tree- you need to make 2 more just like this with the smaller pieces of paper.

On to the “Tree Topper”!

Use the smallest paper for the topper.

1. Start with the same square you made for the Stacking Tree Bases (steps 1-12).
2. Grab the top layer from the right corner, separating the two layers, and hold it straight up at a 90* angle.
3. While stabilizing the bottom corners, push the center fold straight down so it lines up with the folds below.
4. Crease the folds sharply.

5. Repeat steps 2-4 on each of the 4 sides. so you end up with a kite shape like this.
6.  Fold the top layer of the right side over to the left, so the kite shape is closed like this.  You should apply glue on the patterned area of the paper that is shown in step 5, and then do this fold.

Put it all together!

1. Take your bottom base piece and turn it over- this is what the bottom looks like.
2. Pull the pieces slightly apart and apply glue, then squish it all together so all 4 corners are touching in the middle.
3. For the next two stacking base pieces, you want to put the glue far away from the corners that meet in the middle, so that it holds its shape, but still has room to fit over the top of the other pieces.
4. Here’s what it looks like from the top.
5. Place a dot of glue (I used hot glue) on the top point.
6. Quickly stack the next biggest piece on top, making sure the glue holds it in place. Repeat for the next two layers.

Tree with three layers- you really could be done here if you wanted.

Here’s the finished tree!

As always, if you have questions (or if you liked the tutorial), leave a comment below or email me at rochelle@homesweethomebodies and I will do my best to answer your question.  Happy folding!

Memento Pin Boxes

Here’s another of my half-finished projects that I finished recently.  It seems like we pick up little knick-knacks here and there over the years, and while some of them just end up in the garbage or are given away, others are precious reminders of achievements or events that were important in our lives.  We tend to collect pins as mementos of our travels and accomplishments, but our pins were stored rolled up in a towel, inside of a box- not a great way to keep the memories alive!

I randomly got this shadow box at the dollar store a while back, and I realized that this would work well for my pins to go in, if I could find a way to add something to the back that they could be pinned to.

My husband had a lot more pins though, so I counted my lucky stars when I found this larger shadow box on sale at Michael’s.

I pulled the backs out and measured them.  At this point, I lost steam and let them sit for a few weeks (not recommended).

I came back to it, re-measured, and pulled out some fancy fabric and some batting, and cut squares.

I just sewed the batting and the fabric together, and pinned my pins in.  Then I hot glued the top of the fabric to the top of the cardboard frame back.  It popped right in to the frame, and I decided I liked it standing on my desk shelf rather than hanging it on the wall.

At this point, I lost steam again, plus I couldn’t find my husband’s pins, so I let his frame sit under the futon in the office for 3 months (also not recommended).  A couple weeks ago, I serendipitously found the pins, so I was motivated to go digging under the futon to find the parts of the frame and put it together.  Alas, I could not find the back, until after 20 minutes of searching led me to the depths of the closet, where I found the frame back wedged between the wall and the storage bins.  Whew- disaster averted!  Ten minutes and one hot-glue-burned finger later, it was finished, and I proudly hung it on the wall.

Ta-da!

Faux- Metal (TP Tube) Wall Art

Were you all as inspired as I was by this faux- metal wall art on Suzy’s Artsy Craftsy Sitcom?  If you haven’t been over there, you should really check it out- there are tons of great projects. Anyway, I saw her project and thought that I could totally do something like that, and besides, I have a bag of toilet paper and paper towel tubes I have been saving, much to my husband’s chagrin, for some time. So I picked up some bass wood from my local craft store, and a can of bronze hammered metal spray paint (I already had black and clear), and got to work. I don’t really need to give you the step by step- Suzy has already done that, but I might add a few notes…
– A smooth round pencil does a great job of “curling” the cardboard strips.
-Use hot glue- it dries way quicker than wood glue, although you will have to then pull away all the little strings.
-Spray paint first with black and be careful not to saturate it- it will fall apart. :( Paint light coats, let dry for 5 min in between.  After the black, find a metallic type paint and spray just enough to give it the look you want.
-When you spray paint, if you use some sort of protective material behind your art (because, you know, a big black spot on the lawn is not going to please certain other people you live with), use paper (like a big paper shopping bag) or fabric.  Do not use plastic, because it will stick, and you will be sad when it falls apart when you are peeling it off, and you have to re-glue it.  Not that I would know that from experience…  Anyway, I also sprayed mine with a clear coat to protect it and keep any paint from rubbing off onto the wall.  Since the finished art is so lightweight, I just hot glued black ribbon loops to the top and hung it with a push pin.

This faux metal art went very nicely with some frames in my living room (you can kind of see the reflection of those in the picture frame in the center) but this wall was pretty plain, and these really helped tie things together.

 

I kept the ends of the wood that I trimmed when I was making my large faux metal art, and made two small pieces for my bedroom.

Below are the small pieces, on either side of my fabric-covered-foam picture wall art. (If you are new and didn’t see my tutorial in February on how to make these, click the link above for the tutorial).

A few people have commented on my “new wrought iron wall art” and have been surprised to discover that not only is it not metal, but it is made from toilet paper tubes.  Haha.  I should probably stop telling people my secret…

By the way, I posted a tutorial on how to make these natural home decor balls (above) earlier in the spring, but now is the time, if you have access to these materials, to harvest and start making them- check out the tutorial!

Photo frame makeover


Over the past couple of years, I have accumulated a number of random mismatching picture frames, and I never know where to put them. Even worse, I can’t bring myself to get rid of them, because I KNOW I can use them somehow…and if I get rid of them, I know that I will regret it the next day when I finally come up with a brilliant idea for them…so they have just sat in stacks collecting dust. The other problem is that we only have so many shelves that can accommodate all the picture frames we have. We currently live in an apartment with a landlord who is very picky – she charges us $3 per hole we put in the wall, and so we haven’t been too motivated to hang up many pictures since we have been here. If you are anything like me and have the problems of mismatching picture frames, and/or strict landlords here are a couple of solutions!

Problem #1: Mismatching Picture Frames
Solution: SPRAY PAINT (semigloss). It is magical. Here is why – you can take a whole stack of mismatching picture frames, and spray paint them (I used black), and then all of the sudden, you have a really cool looking collection of frames that match each other!

Problem #2: Hanging pictures puts holes in the wall, which costs $$$
Solution: GROSGRAIN RIBBON. I used black so that it would match my picture frames, but you could really use any contrasting color if you wanted some added flair.
I took four of my frames and spaced them out evenly next to each other, to make a 2×2 cluster. Then I cut two pieces of 1″thick grosgrain ribbon at appropriate lengths to keep the spacing even between the frames. I hot glued the ends of the ribbons to the bottoms and the tops of the frames. Now, you only have to make 2 holes in the wall instead of 4!

Here is my finished product! I kind of like it! :)