Homemade Christmas Ornaments

My sweet friend Kristy @creepingfigcottage (on Instagram) made these homemade ornaments and when I saw them I gasped! They were simple yet beautiful. So with her permission I asked if I could put her recipe on my blog for all of you.

If you have been following along on my Instagram then you probably know that I have talked about having a simple Christmas and these ornaments are simply perfect. Don’t you agree? 😍

So if you are looking for a fun and inexpensive holiday activity for the family then this is it my friends! I literally had everything on hand which means I spent zero dollars! 😱

Items Needed

1 cup of baking soda
1/2 cup of cornstarch
3/4 cup of water

Step 1: Add all the ingredients to a medium sized sauce pan and turn the burner to medium heat.

Step 2: Stir for a few minutes until you have a mashed potato like consistency. It took mine about 4 minutes to thicken.

Step 3: Pour the mix into a mixing bowl and cover with Sarah wrap or aluminum foil. Allow the mixture to cool completely. It took mine about 15-20 minutes to coo

Step 4: sprinkle some cornstarch on a cutting board and on the rolling pin you plan to use, then roll out the mix.

Tip: I sprinkled a little cornstarch on top of the mix as well because the dough was a little sticky.

Step 5: Cut out the ornaments using cookie cutters of your choice. I used a few different types. Then puncture a hole near the top. I used a shish kabob, like Kristy has suggested.

Step 6: Lay the ornaments on a cookie sheet and bake them for 1 hour at 175 degrees. Allow the ornaments to cool then use string or baking twine to hang.

That’s it! Definitely a simple and fun activity for the family.

I hope you enjoyed this post! A big thank you to Kristy @creepingfigcottage for sharing her recipe so I could share it with all of you.

Until next time. Xo

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Dresser Makeover

I absolutely love when I stumble across well-built furniture that just needs a little love. So when I found a dresser at Goodwill for $14.99 I couldn’t pass it up. It’s solid wood and well-built. It just needed a facelift.

I knew once I saw it, it was going to be baby K’s dresser. When we moved into our home, the previous owner left a wire dresser in the master bedroom. We used that for baby K’s dresser, but it was ugly. 😵 So we had it tucked away in his closet, which left no room for storage in his room.

Now he has a dresser that is functional and nice enough to not be tucked away in the closet. 💙

Doing this makeover was a couple of weeks of work, mainly because the layered paint. I attempted to sand it off at first, but was going through multiple sandpaper sheets, which can get expensive.

Below I provide all the steps I took to achieve the new look, along with some tips & tricks I picked up along the way.

Tools & Materials for Paint Removal:
Electric sander
80 grit sand paper
120 grit sandpaper
Citristrip
Scraper
Paint brush
Metal bucket
Towels
Soap & Water
Tarp

Paint & Paint Supplies:
Paint color of choice
Variety of sponge brushes
Mini foam paint roller
Paint stirrer
Early American stain by Miniwax (optional)
Towel (if using stain)

Tools & Materials for Mounting Hardware:
Electric screwdriver
Tape measure
Pencil
5/16 inch drill bit
3/16 inch drill bit

Step 1: Remove all the hardware. I didn’t do this at first, but I recommend you do.

Tip: Before you remove the hardware take a lot of pictures so you remember how they should look when you put them back on.

Tip: Put all the screws in a ziplock bag so you don’t lose them.

There are several paint thinner options to choose from at a hardware store, but I went with Citristrip because it is safer to work with and it doesn’t have a harsh odor. It smells like citrus. Hints the name. 😂

Step 2: Pour the Citristrip into a metal container. Do not pour it into a plastic cup, it will eat the cup.

Tip: Shake the Citristrip well before opening.

Step 3: Apply a thick layer of Citristrip using an actual paint brush and not a sponge brush. Citristrip will eat the sponge within seconds, then you’ll have black particles all over the piece of furniture.

Tip: Leave the Citristrip on for about 30 minutes or until you see the paint bubbling.


Step 4: Use a scraper to scrap the paint off going with the grain of the wood.

Tip: I would highly recommend laying a tarp down before you start scraping the paint off. Citristrip is super messy!

Step 5: Once all the Citristrip residue has been scraped off, clean the wood with soap and water.

Step 6: If there is still paint residue, use an electric sander with 80 grit sandpaper to remove the remaining paint.

Tip: 80 grit removes paint, but be careful to not let the electric sander sit too long in one spot as it will remove the wood to.

Step 7: Once all the paint is removed, use the electric sander with 120 grit sandpaper to smooth the wood.

Step 8: Clean the wood with soap and water to remove all the saw dust.

Step 9: (optional) Make the holes for the hardware, if you are adding new.

The dresser didn’t have any hardware when I bought it, so I purchased 10 1/16″ pull bars from Wayfair to mount on the drawers. I looked at several places online and Wayfair had the best selection (in my opinion) and a good price point.

For the screws to go all the way through the wood I had to use two different drill bit sizes because the screws that came with the drawer pulls were the same length as the front of the drawer, 1 inch. This is the standard screw size for hardware.

To do this I drilled the hole from the front back starting with the 3/16 inch drill bit, then I flipped the drawer over and used a 5/16 inch drill bit to drill from the back about half way in.

Tip: If you do this, be very careful when drilling with the 5/16 drill bit so you don’t go all the way through the wood.

Step 10: Apply 1 coat of primer. In the past I have used Bulls Eye 1.2.3 Primer and it works great!

I did not do this step, but if you plan to use Valspar furniture paint I highly recommend you do! It will save you a lot of frustration. The paint says on the label no priming or sanding necessary, but I assure you that’s not the case.

Step 11: Once the primer is dry, Apply a thin layer of paint using a sponge roller, going with the grain of the wood. Allow the paint to dry and repeat until done. Let the paint dry completely.

I applied a total of 5 coats before full coverage was achieved. This was the first time using Valspar furniture paint and probably my last. I had such high hopes, but the number of coats I had to apply has turned me away. The color options are amazing and the color itself is beautiful. It just took way too many coats of paint to achieve the color and I even sanded all the paint off before painting. I could only imagine how many coats it would have taken if I hadn’t. 😳

In the past I have used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, which is absolutely AMAZING! But I didn’t want a chalky finish, I wanted a clean finish. Which Valspar furniture paint will give you, just be prepared to apply several coats.

The color I used was Deep Sea Diving. I wanted a dramatic blue and this one was it! The paint choice actually worked out perfectly. My hubby is a die-hard cubs fan and the Cubs new locker room is in gold and blue, so he loves the color combo too!

Ok, enough about the paint. 😂

Step 12: Mount the hardware.

Step 13: Mount the drawer tracks back on the dresser.

The drawer tracks that came with the dresser were covered in paint. Whoever had this dresser before did not choose to remove the hardware leaving all the drawer tracks covered in various paint colors. 😭 At first I was going to just purchase new ones, but then I looked at how much they were and was like, no.

I remembered purchasing a can of brass spray paint a while back for a different project, so I decided to spray paint the drawer tracks instead of buy new ones. Lucky for me the hardware I purchased was brass so it all worked out! 💃🏻


Step 14: Mount the legs.

I LOVE mid-century pieces. Especially the legs. The dresser is a lot smaller than a standard sized one, so I wanted to give it a lift.

When I was at Lowe’s purchasing the other materials I ran across these legs. I just applied one coat of Early American stain by Miniwax and wiped it off a few seconds after applying to get the color I wanted. If you like the darker color I suggest leaving the stain on for about a minute before wiping it off.

The legs were $2 each, so I spent a total of $8 for the legs and $8 for the hardware to mount the legs. $16 is a less expensive than the ones I saw online so I was super happy!

Step 15: You’re done! Now you can style your new piece of furniture!

I was so excited to get the dresser in baby K’s room. 💙 As soon as it was positioned, I started putting his clothes in the drawers. Now he has his very own dresser and I couldn’t be happier.

P.S. I painted the baseball and car paintings that are hung on his wall. When I was hanging them up he was pointing and saying car & ball. It was the cutest.

In total we spent about $40 on the necessary supplies i.e. paint, sponge brushes, Citristrip & $60 on the hardware & legs. So a total of $100, which is way less expensive than buying a new dresser that is real wood.

Well friends, that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed it and leave here feeling inspired.

Until next time. Xo

 

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DIY Fall Inspired Book Page Leaves

This is seriously one of the easiest DIY’s I’ve done to date as well as the least expensive! I purchased two books from the Salvation Army for $1 total. That’s it. A $1 DIY. Now that is a DIY that even my most frugal of friends can get on board with. Am I right?!? It definitely helped that I had all the other items on hand.

To make these budget friendly fall inspired book page leaves you’ll need the supplies listed below.

Supplies:

Old book(s)
Scissors
Acrylic paint in desired colors
Paint brush for each color
Bowl
Water
Freezer paper

Tip: I used crimson, gold, and orchid yellow paint.

Step 1: Tear out the book pages from the book(s).

Step 2: Line up several pages, then fold them in half, long ways.

Tip: Apply ample pressure when folding the pages to ensure the crease is well defined.

Step 3: Starting near the bottom of the side with the crease, cut upwards then out to make a leaf shape. I just eyed mine. Reference the picture below to give you an idea of how mine looks.

Step 4: Fill the bowl half way with water.

Step 5: Tear off about 2 feet of freezer paper and lay flat. Then Tear off a second smaller piece to cover the space you will be painting the paper leaves on. This makes the clean up easy.

Step 6: Dip your brush in the water, then dab it in the desired paint color and paint the leaf. Once your done, lay it flat on the freezer paper. Let the leaf dry for about 15 minutes, then flip it. This will prevent the leaf from sticking to the freezer paper.

Tip: For some of the leaves I dabbed the paintbrush in two or even all three colors to give them a more discolored authentic look. 

Step 7: Repeat step 6 until you have the desired amount of book page leaves.

Step 8: Let the leaves dry overnight then the sky is the limit!

I snapped a couple of photos to give you ideas on how to style them below, but the possibilities are endless.

A fall charger

Spruce up an olive bucket
 

You can also use them to make:

a wreath
name cards for a table setting
table runner
garland

I am using them to create a table runner for my fall tablescape post that will be on the blog next month and I can’t wait to show you all. Stay tuned!

Well friends, that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed my budget friendly DIY as well as inspired you to think outside the box when decorating your home for the upcoming fall season. This just goes to show you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make something beautiful. If you decide to make these book page leaves, I would love for you to share it with me on Instagram! My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns You can also message me on Instagram or leave a comment below if you have any questions. Thanks so much for stopping by!

Until next time. Xoxo

Master Bathroom Makeover

This makeover had been a long time coming. It wasn’t ugly. It just wasn’t our style, and definitely didn’t match the rest of the house. Below are some before pictures to show you what we were working with. Do you see a theme?!? Brown everywhere!! The walls, the cabinet, the vanity top, & even the floor.

The wall color reminded me of baby K’s poo. 😂 That’s when I knew it was time.

I actually starting painting the walls in the master bathroom about 6 months ago. I initially painted the walls Argos Gray from Sherwin Williams. Then I decided I didn’t want gray because most of the walls in our house are gray and it just didn’t feel right. Then I started painting over the gray with the leftover white paint from the laundry room makeover. You can see that makeover HERE. But the paint didn’t cover very well, and it was stark white, too white. So I decided I wanted a warmer white. I know, crazy right?!? Even I was questioning my sanity.

See what I mean?!? I went home decor crazy for just a minute. 😂

I ended up going with Snowbound White from Sherwin Williams. I LOVE it!! It was exactly what I wanted. I’m glad it only took me painting the walls two times with two  different colors to figure it out. 😏

After painting the walls, I bought the round mirror. I wasn’t 100% sure on the styling at this time, but I was 100% sure on the mirror. I knew I wanted that mirror, so I used that as my inspiration.

It took me a very long time to figure out how I wanted to style the bathroom. I initially wanted marble countertops and all white everything. But then I realized we aren’t rich and couldn’t afford marble countertops. Then I wanted to cover the walls in honeycomb tile, but after tiling the laundry room I decided, no.

This updated space is an extra special DIY because I just went with things I loved instead of scrolling through Pinterest. Sometimes Pinterest can be overwhelming and sway your thinking. Am I right?!? So I went on a Pinterest strike while figuring out what I wanted. All I can say is thank god for Amazon! Instead of Pinterest, I looked up random items like “brass light fixture” and just scrolled until I found one I wanted. I basically did this with everything. Most of the items are actually from Amazon and at a fraction of the price from what you would pay at a big box store. 🙌🏼

While I was waiting for all the items from Amazon to come in, I put up the wall decor & of course added greenery. I used the same shelving brackets from our laundry room makeover HERE. They are so sturdy, but look clean and modern. Exactly what I wanted.

You can buy the brackets HERE. If you buy these brackets make sure you read the dimensions carefully! There were several bad reviews because the width of the shelf the brackets hold is misleading. I purchased the 8″ brackets, which translates to 7.25 or 7 1/4 inches wide for the actual shelf. The brackets are the sizes as advertised, but the shelf itself needs to be .75 inches smaller in width for the shelf to fit. Meaning, if you buy the 10 inch brackets you’ll want to buy a piece of wood 9.25 inches wide not 10″. Other than that, they are perfect!

I bought the wall hooks from Target in brass originally, but they were more gold when I got them home, so I spray painted them matte black with paint I already had on hand.

The next thing I tackled was the cabinet. Initially I wanted a mid-century dresser that I planned on turning into a vanity. My friend had even found one for me! But on the day I was going to pick it up from the seller, she text me and told me it had been water damaged from the last rain fall. Boo! I was disappointed. Then I went to plan B and decided to paint the cabinet.

I used matte black chalkboard paint from Lowe’s then did a top coat with Annie Sloan soft wax for protection.

I bought the hardware from Amazon. They were crazy inexpensive! I bought a 10 pack of the t-bar drawer pulls, and a 5 pack of the t-bar knobs all for $25! Bonus, I plan to use the leftover t-bar pulls for the shelf doors in the loft. Two birds, one stone!

After I painted the cabinet, I focused on the floor. I went back and forth about the floor for over a week. One day I wanted to do a stencil, then the next day I wanted to rip it out and put new down, but I ended up painting it a solid color. I used Rust-oleum chalk paint in Charcoal. I was hesitant at first with the cabinet painted black, but I actually really like it. I think the runner gives it enough contrast.

I read a lot of tutorials about painting the floor. I had never painted a floor before so I needed all the help I could get! I used my sweet friend April’s tutorial HERE to guide me through the process and it worked like a charm! Plus I love her floor and basically everything she does. ❤️

After the floors were dry, it was time to put in the light fixture. Isn’t she a beaut?!?

I have always been afraid of messing with electrical, so I usually have my amazing FIL do them when he comes to visit. However, he told me it would be a couple weeks until he got the chance to come over, and I am super impatient and didn’t want to wait that long. So I put my big girl pants on and decided I would conquer my fear.

Still afraid I was going to electrocute myself, I shut the power off to the entire upstairs. 😂 I didn’t think about our wifi that resides upstairs until my oldest son yelled, “Mom, the tv stopped working!” Oops! 😬

After I was 100% sure that all the switches were flipped off, hooking the light up was a breeze. Definitely a lot easier than I thought and took me less than 30 minutes to get it done. My favorite thing about the light fixture, is the simplicity of it and the fact it shows the vintage light bulbs. 😍

After the light fixture was in, it was time to take out the vanity. I searched everywhere for a single wood plank that was big enough for the countertop, but couldn’t find one in our price range. So I ended up buying 3 oak planks to make the countertop.

When I asked the older gentleman associate at Lowe’s for assistance with the wood selection, he told me to go with oak instead of pine or poplar because oak is a hardwood and the other two options are softwood. To be honest, I didn’t know that there was a difference. I just knew the other options were less expensive. But after the associate told me that the oak would be better with water exposure over time, I went with the oak as he suggested.

Materials for vanity countertop:

Wood:

3 – 7 x 61.5 x .75

1 – 5 x 61.5 x .75 (backsplash)

Tools & Materials:

Tape measure

Pencil

Dremel

Sander with 220 grit sandpaper

Electric drill

Wood glue

2 clamps

Liquid Nails

Kreg Jig

1 1/4 inch Kreg screws

1.5 inch hole saw (faucet holes)

2 3/4 inch hole saw (vessel sink holes)

Wood conditioner

Early American Minwax wood finish

One coat polyurethane

3 foam brushes

Damp cloth

All the materials to make the vanity cost me around $130. Not the least expensive, but a lot less than buying one. 😬 The wood by itself was around $88. The additional cost was for tool accessories to make the holes for the faucets and sinks. I had everything else.

The first thing I did was mark where I wanted the faucets and sinks to go using a tape measure & pencil.

THIS WAS KEY as I did not want to put screws (using the Kreg Jig) where I would need to drill the holes for the faucets and sinks.

Once I had everything measured I used the Kreg Jig to make holes in the wood to connect the three pieces. I might of gotten over zealous, but I wanted to make sure they were secured to each other. My goal was to make the three pieces look like one piece.

Next I used wood gorilla glue and glued the sides together.

After I applied all the glue, I used two clamps to hold them together until I had put all the screws in. Because the wood was only .75 inches thick, I used a 1 1/4 inch fine thread Kreg screw. I would recommend using fine thread over coarse thread screws if you go with hardwood. I used a damp towel to wipe off any visible glue and then let it dry overnight.

Next I used the electric sander (220 grit) to smooth the surface. One of the boards was a little raised on one side so I used my handy dandy Dremel with the sander attachment to level everything. Worked like a charm! After I was done leveling the wood, I went back over it with the sander, then wiped it clean before I started the painting process.

First, I applied 2 coats of wood conditioner.

Usually I don’t go to this extreme while staining. Actually, I never have used wood conditioner until now, but with the chance of excessive exposure to water I didn’t take any shortcuts.

I let the wood conditioner dry for about 8 hours then stained it with Early American wood finish from Minwax.

I applied one thin coat, let the stain sit for about 1 minute, then wiped it off using a damp towel. If you want a darker look, let the stain sit for a few minutes before wiping it down. I let the stain dry overnight then applied the polyurethane the next morning.

Minus the sanding and Dremel steps, I did the same process for the backsplash piece.

Once the polyurethane was dry it was time to drill the holes for the faucets and sinks.

I had to use two different saw hole sizes. For the faucets I used a 1.5 inch saw hole and for the sinks I used a 2 3/4 inch saw hole.

After the holes were drilled, I used liquid nails to secure the wood to the cabinet and the backslash to the countertop, then put the sinks and faucets in.

I went back and forth about the color of the faucets. At first I wanted black, but with the floor and cabinet both black/charcoal I opted for the brass. I bought two faucets for $49 each through Amazon. That is a steal if you have shopped for faucets at big box stores. They were between $100 – $200 at other places I looked. In the end I am so happy I went with brass faucets. I LOVE THEM and the quality is amazing!

After the faucets and sinks were in place, my hubby hooked the water up. Good thing, because I assembled the faucets incorrectly. 😬 The vessel sinks are also from Amazon and the popup drains were included. Both sinks together cost $98 total! Also a steal! Amazon might be the best of EVER.

After the water was hooked up we were in business!

I had never been so happy to see streaming water from a faucet!

Funny story, when my hubby was having me check if the hoses were hooked up right (hot on left, cold on right), I turned the faucet on full blast and the water shot out all over him. 😂 He turned the water pressure down after that and so that doesn’t happen again, but his face was priceless! 😂😂

Total this project cost roughly $700 for everything. I’m talking decor, fixtures, tools, everything. It may sound like a lot, but it was far less expensive then what we would have paid to have a contractor do it. 😊

I still plan on changing the shower head, but for now, I am over the moon with how this space came together.

Well friends, that’s it for this post. I hope you found it inspiring and helpful if you are thinking about doing a bathroom makeover. Just know, it takes time.  Lot of time. This was 6+ months in the making. Obviously we didn’t buy everything at once. I would pick up an item here and there as our budget would allow. So if you are in the middle of a project that seems like it is taking forever, be patient with yourself and enjoy the adventure of building a space you love.

If you have any questions please leave a comment or message me on Instagram. My handle is @acarriedaffairdesigns I would love to know what you think about this makeover!

Until next time. Happy DIY’ing! Xo

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