The 2014 Line-up: Storage that works

If I could give my house one goal for 2014 it would be storage that works. I’m excellent at purging a space and organizing everything for a pretty reveal but keeping it that way is another story all together.Under the kitchen sink

I always feel like there is ample room to grow and adjust in any given space but then one day I look up and realize that I was completely wrong and all my efforts have turned into a stash worthy of hoarder status. 
Fabric Storage

Can I get an amen??

Master ClosetSo here it is, the proverbial new year’s list of goals/incentives/points of stress/accomplishments or whatever you want to call it.  Either way, I’m writing it down which for me means that I will actually work towards accomplishing it.

  • usable storage for my kitchen, including but not limited to cabinets and drawers
  • this will likely be a part of a larger kitchen reno, but more on that later

Junk Drawers Cabinet Storage

 

  • usable storage in the craft/sewing room

Craft Closet Bottom of craft closet

  • portable storage for the hall closet
  • usable storage for my shoes and occasional items like sweaters, shorts, etc.

Master Closet

  • last but not least, paint the freaking living room. I almost pulled the trigger on this project before the holidays but I realized I had just enough time to either paint or put up the Christmas decorations. I chose decorations. More on that later as well.

So what are your goals for 2014?

Happy New Year’s my friends!

 

Party Stash: DIY Road Sign

Any time I throw a party, I’m always looking for something to make that event a unique affair without spending a ton of money. For my brother’s wedding shower I created this custom road sign for a grand total of. . . (wait for it) $1!Custom Road Sign from thefrontpoarch.comHere’s how you can make your own!

Gather your supplies:

  • old road sign – we all have them, stashed in our garage from an election or school event
  • 2 poster boards (I chose white) – $1
  • spray adhesive
  • box cutter or exacto knife
  • spray paint of your choice (optional)
  • sharpie

Make your own road signLay your existing sign on top of 1 piece of poster board.

Cover an existing road signUsing your knife, cut around the edge.

Cut poster to sizeSpray the sign with adhesive and then very carefully attach your posterboard. You’ll probably on get one shot so make it count!

Use spray adhesive to attach poster

Now flip the sign over and repeat this process for the other side.
Cover the other side

Now you have a beautiful blank slate!

I chose to add a little color to the corners of my sign so I taped off a strip and gave it a few coats of spray paint.

Add custom colors

Adding a custom colorOnce the green was dry, I taped of the corner and painted it gold.

Add custom letteringYou’re almost done, now take your sharpie and add your lettering of choice.

Use a sharpie to write

All done! Stick it in the yard and guests are sure to feel welcome!
DIY Road Sign for showers and parties - thefrontpoarch.com

Custom Road Sign from thefrontpoarch.com

 

Make your own: Dipped Branches

Remember that one time I got some sticks from my yard and turned them into a faux mantle and then they got recycled again into driftwood art?

Well I’m at it again with these custom dipped branches.How to make Dipped Branches from thefrontpoarch.com

I started with several branches that I picked up from around my yard.

Branches from the yardThey got trimmed and cut down to size and then separated into 2 piles based on size.

Trimmed BranchesNext, I chose my paint colors; purple, green and gold. I haven’t told you this yet but I’ve dreaming of painting my living room in a peacock color scheme and I know these will fit it well when I do. They’ll also probably make an appearance at the upcoming bridal shower.

I set up my paint station again, just like I did for my dipped votives and set to work.

Painting StationIf you’re doing this at home, as a part of your paint station you’re going to need a place to hang the drying branches. I have a wire shelf just above my laundry area which I used to hang my branches on.

Start by tying a piece of fishing line (or string) on the ‘top’ part of each branch. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be tight enough not to slip off. If you have a lot of bark like I did, this won’t be a problem!

Tie fishing line on branch

If you have spray paint, towards the ‘bottom’ part of each branch, tape off where you want the dip line for the first color. 
Taping off BranchesThen paint away! I found it less messy to hold the stick vertically and spray downward toward drop cloth.

Branch spray painted goldImmediately hang the branch to dry and repeat with the remaining branches. I chose to work with one color at a time, first I did gold (which took 2 coats). . .

Gold Dipped Branches

. . . and then purple and green. For branches that you’re actually going to dip into a paint can/bucket, you don’t need to tape off a ‘dip’ line, just dunk away! You’ll notice that on my purple dipped branches I did use tape because my purple paint can wasn’t very tall so I used a brush to help me out on the first layer. First coat - dipped branchesAfter the paint dried for 24 hours, I dipped a 2nd and on some even a 3rd layer of paint and just like that they were done.

Dipped Branches - thefrontpoarch.com

Create custom dipped branches @ thefrontpoarch.com

I’m still looking for an appropriate container for the larger branches to call home but until then I’ll just enjoy these beauties.

How to make Dipped Branches from thefrontpoarch.comWhat fun things have you made out of material found in the great outdoors?

 

DIY Fridge Labels

This goes out to all the obsessive compulsive organizers out there. . .

That’s right, you read correctly, I labeled my fridge.

And I’m proud of it too!

Use vinyl to label your fridge - thefrontpoarch.comFor all of you out there who just did an internal happy dance, here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

Ideally you would start with a nice, clean, organized blank slate such as this.

Fridge BeforeBegin by deciding what you want to label and where you’d like the labels to be placed. This will help you determine the size and font of you lettering. As you can tell from my first photo, I went with more general titles i.e. butter, and left out the part about my midnight-snack stash of dark chocolate chips.

In Silhouette Studio, I chose the font called KG Eyes Wide Open because it was a script font but the embellishments weren’t over the top. I decided to go with a script font because I thought it would be easier to peel and stick 1 word at a time versus peeling and sticking individual letters. (More on that theory later on.)

Once my text was correct and I had adjusted the size as I wanted it, I used the weld feature (bottom arrow) to ‘weld’ the letters in each text box. (If you don’t do this you’ll end up with a script font where the letters aren’t actually connected and trust me, it is a PAIN.)Design labels in Silhouette StudioNow comes the fun part, applying the letters. I would very much like to tell you that I found a fool-proof method to apply them and it will take you just a few seconds to do the entire thing but alas. . .I have not made such a discovery. I used a combination of my hook tool and transfer paper and worked slowly to apply each word.

Fridge with labels - thefrontpoarch.comI would recommend wiping off each surface just before application so that any lingering moisture won’t come between you and awesome labels.

Fruite & veggies labelBack to my choice of font, even though I chose a rather robust script font, the vinyl was still really difficult to get transferred over in one piece. I think if I had to do it over again I would choose a block font and apply it by drawing a level line with a dry erase maker or something. (Side note: the problem with the transfer paper is that the bond between the vinyl and the fridge is much weaker than between the vinyl and the paper. This means that when you try to peel the transfer paper off the vinyl almost always comes with it. Make sense?)

Lunch & Dinner LabelsOver all though, I am in LOVE with the finished product!

Fridge labeled with vinyl letteringThink you’ll ever label your fridge?

 

SPS: Dining Room Curtains

Today in the Small Project Series we’re celebrating the hanging of curtains.

That’s right. Now, try to contain your excitement. After all, it’s not everyday we hang curtains in this house!!

In fact it’s been about 6 months since I purchased these beauties. . .and they’ve been hanging just like this the entire time!

Curtains sat there for 6 monthsPathetic, I know. So I finally got my act together and made another cheap, awesome, professional curtain rod and in less than 20 minutes what I’d been putting off for 6 months became this beautiful reality.

I finally hung the curtains in the dining roomNew Dining Room CurtainsMy favorite part is how it ties the whole dining space together.

Dining Room - Finished thefrontpoarch.comThanks for celebrating with me!

SPS: Can you KEEP something organized??

How do you keep a bookcase organized?

Organizing a Bookshelf

Or any other high traffic area.

I mean really, day after day, week after week, how do you keep something organized?

I’m not talking about initially getting everything tidied up or staging something for a great photo either. That’s the thrill of the hunt, removing everything from a shelf, organizing, getting rid of and staging the best stuff. The work to keep it that way? Bor-ing.

One day you wake up and walk by your bookshelf and it looks like this:BookshelfLeaning books of Pisa anyone??

How did this even happen? We’re tidy people, how did all of these book get jumbled up and why hasn’t anyone straightened this monstrosity?

Stacks? Really??

Messy BookshelfSo I’m proposing an experiment. As a part of the Small Project Series, every Friday for the next 6 week I’m going to post a pic of this bookshelf on my Instagram and Facebook page, the good, the bad and the ugly with the hopes that some accountability will help keep it on the looking-presentable train. After all, it one of the most highly trafficked areas of my home, I should be able to keep a little bookshelf organized. Shouldn’t I? I guess we’ll have to see about it.

Here’s the bookshelf as it stands today, not edited, not organized, just exactly as it is with a few minor issues but still looking presentable.

Bookshelf 1st reviewHere we go, we’ll see what happens!

 

PS – I came home from work last week and found this.

Painting FellI guess it’s back to the drawing board. . . here’s the 1st | 2nd | & 3rd attempt I made at hanging this painting. I’ll keep you posted on the 4th.

 

 

Polka Dot Mushroom Tutorial

Summer is upon us and as you know I’ve been working on sprucing up my backyard which is still a HUGE work in progress. This week I took some time to work on the front for a little while and so I’m here today with another garden mushroom tutorial.

Garden Mushroom Tutorial - thefrontpoarch.omSince I made my last piece of garden art, I’ve been on the hunt for another perfect mushroom pairing. I’ve had the most luck finding awesome pieces at the ReStore but I also hunt Goodwill and flea markets. This particular pairing is a large, standard sized vase and the bowl from a light fixture.

Polk Dot Mushroom Before & AfterThere’s no magic to finding the right stem and cap combo, just go with whatever you like!

Start by painting white circle on the inside of you bowl. If you’re using craft paint like I did it will probably take 3 coats. Then paint the entire bowl with the color of your choosing. I opted for red and again it took several coats.

How to paint a polka dot mushroomOnce your paint is dry you’ll want to find a few good sized rocks to put in the bottom of your vase. Without them your mushroom will probably be top heavy and fall over.

Put rocks in the bottom for weightNext, super glue. Spread a thin layer around the top rim and place your mushroom cap on top. I let mine set while we were out of town for the weekend leaving it alone for 2 days would do the trick I think.

DIY Polka Dot MushroomPlace it in your garden and enjoy!

PS – You can also see how I made my original mushroom and how I upcycled that iron pineapple in the background.

DIY Foot Stool

Make a foot stool from a side table - thefrontpoarch.comA few years ago my mom came across and old side table that at one time had a penny finish on the top. It had since be removed, and the surface was in rough shape. The table had a home in my brother’s college apartment but when he graduated and moved on, the table made it back to my mom. I’m not one to let free furniture go so I brought it to my house where it sat for a few weeks.

Foot Stool 2Instead of trying to refinish the top, I opted to transform the table into a foot stool for the red smoking chair in my reading nook. Here’s the before and after!Foot Stool Before & After from thefrontpoarch.com

To transform a side table of your own, here’s what you’ll need:

  • old side table (mine was about 24″ tall)
  • 4″ foam, large enough to cover your table
  • fabric of your choice
  • paint of your choice
  • spray adhesive
  • serrated knife or electric knife
  • scissors
  • staple gun

The first step is to remove the legs, this makes it easier to paint and since my table was already the height I wanted, I trimmed the legs down about 3″. The legs on my table were a bit stubborn but nothing a little WD-40 and elbow (or finger) grease wouldn’t take care of.Foot Stool 3

You’ll then want to paint your legs and any part of your table that might be visible. Now it’s time to attach your foam to the top of your table. I just happened to have this photo adhesive on hand and it did the trick. Generally, you spray a layer on each surface and wait a few minutes for the glue to get tacky, then adhere them together.

Foot Stool 5

Foot Stool 6Next, using your serrated knife, begin to trim the foam to the size of your table. For me, this meant trimming the corners off to make the square foam into a circle.

*Disclaimer* Be VERY careful when cutting the foam! It can be a bit tricky to get the cut started but do NOT try to use your fingers to help the blade along.

Foot Stool 7Use your scissors to soften the corners of the foam all the way and trim off any excess foam in order to complete your shape.

Foot Stool 14

Similar to Reupholstering Dining Room Chairs make a sandwich, starting with your fabric, print side down, then the foam and the table top (the latter 2 should be attached). Start by stapling 2 points, here, 1 on the left and right side.Foot Stool 9Staple the 2 opposite points, top and bottom and then turn it over to make sure that your fabric tension is correct. Lookin’ good!

Foot Stool 11Continue stapling all the way around, being sure to pull the extra fabric down into pleats.

Foot Stool 10Enlist your handy husband to reattach the legs. . . .

Foot Stool 13

. . . . and trim the excess fabric from the bottom.Foot Stool 12Turn that sucker over and prop you feet up, you just made an awesome foot stool!

Put your Feet up & Relax! - thefrontpoarch.com

Foot Stool 1

Have you ever repurposed a side table for another fabulous use?DIY Foot Stool from thefrontpoarch.com

 

How to make a camera bag. . . .from a camera bag. . . .

I mentioned earlier this week that I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect camera bag for my recently acquired Sony Nex-5 and today I’m back with the perfect custom solution that you can make out of any bag!

DIY Camera Bag

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bag or purse large enough to hold your camera and needed accessories
  • Batting
  • Fabric of choice
  • Coordinating thread
  • Velcro
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron & ironing board

Make your own camer bag - thefrontpoarch.comLet’s start with the bag, my bag just happens to be a vintage camera bag that I acquired from my photo-loving Grandad. (Thus the title of this post.) Like most bags, it didn’t have quite enough padding so the first step is adding enough cushion to protect your camera.

Start by measuring the length and width of the bottom and both sides of your bag. Mine was 3″ wide by 26″ long. I added 1″ to the width and 6″ to the length (3 per side) and cut the needed dimensions from my fabric. With right sides together, pin your sleeve with the pins running perpendicular to the long edge.

Camera Bag Tutorial 4

Next, stitch along the long edge. . . .

Camera Bag Tutorial 5. . . . and turn the sleeve right side out.

Camera Bag Tutorial 6

You then want to cut strips of batting to stuff into your sleeve. The thinnest batting I could find was 1″ and I wanted something a little thinner so I tore the batting in half to make 2 1/2″ layers.

Camera Bag Tutorial 2

Next it’s time to cut strips of the batting. Since my sleeve was 3″ wide I cut strips that were 2 3/4″ so they would fit snuggly inside.

Camera Bag Tutorial 7

Next, on one end only, create a finished edge by rolling the unfinished edge inward. Press the new seam.Camera Bag Tutorial 8

Double stitch your finished edge and attached a piece of velcro. It doesn’t matter which side of the velcro you attach to the sleeve, I chose the ‘hook’ side.

Camera Bag Tutorial 10

Now it’s time to fit your sleeve to your bag and make measurements for the second unfinished edge.

As you can see, I had to trim several inches off of my sleeve. Trim your fabric and batting to fit making sure to cut the batting about 1″ shorter than your fabric so you’ll have enough fabric to turn under. Repeat the finished edge process on this end, double stitching the fold and attaching the velcro.

Camera Bag Tutorial 11Now for the back piece. I cut a rectangle that was slightly wider that the back of my bag and double the length. Here it is folded over.

Camera Bag Tutorial 12Then, cut a piece of batting that is exactly the size of the back of you bag.

Camera Bag Tutorial 13Insert the batting inbetween the folded fabric, like a pocket and stitch around the 3 open edges.

Camera Bag Tutorial 16Now you’re ready to assemble! I put the back piece in first with just a small piece of velcro at the top with the idea that the sleeve would mostly hold that piece in place.

How to make a camera bag from a purse - thefrontpoarch.comTo attach the sleeve, cut a piece of ‘loop’ velcro, line it up with the hook piece on the fabric. Attach the adhesive side to the bag and let it set overnight.

Camera Bag Tutorial 14

Attach the other end of the sleeve and you’re done!

I made another shorter sleeve to serve as a divider between my camera and extra lens.DIY Camer Bag from thefrontpoarch.comEnjoy your new custom bag!DIY Camera Bag

An Unintended Collection

Have you ever started a collection. . . . without meaning to?Globe Collection thefrontpoarch.com 5

What I mean by that is, have you ever ‘shopped’ your house and found you have collected one particular item, without realizing it? I have. It’s globes.

Globe Collection thefrontpoarch.com 1

And now they’re on display in my guest room. And I love them.

Globe Collection thefrontpoarch.com 2

Since noticing my collection a few months ago, I’ve been on the hunt for a few more. 2 large globes are now the base of my collection. . .

Globe Collection thefrontpoarch.com 3. . . and these three smaller ones round it out. (See what I did there?)

My favorite? This little gem, with the signs of the Zodiac around the base.

Globe Collection thefrontpoarch.com 4

Globe Collection thefrontpoarch.com 6Have you ever accidentally collected anything?