school decor.

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At my school, there is a planning room for each department where all the teachers have a work station. They’re made of this funky-colored blue fabric (the top half is magnetic and the bottom half is made for push-pins) that I used all of last year but decided I wanted to change for 2013-2014.

I bought some purple fabric from JoAnn’s and spent two hours attaching it with LOTS of duct tape. Since I’ll have a classroom this year, I could move a number of things from my desk in this room to my desk in the room. It’s not nearly as cramped anymore, which is something I’m also really into.

back in action.

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I created again. Which makes me feel like summer is actually a thing in my life (now that it’s August). And it’s wonderful.

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I’ve exercised consistently since the school year ended. Which is even more wonderful.

Life is good.

wine cork letter.

I’ve become a failure at taking pictures while I create something. This one probably would have been helpful considering the way it changed as I was working, but it was also the first project I got a little frustrated with in the process. It was messy and made my hands hurt a lot.

That being said, I absolutely love the way it turned out.

I became pretty obsessed with wine cork letters recently, and finally decided I wanted to tackle one. Luckily, J and I both have last names that start with “S” so it wasn’t an awkward attempt at choosing what letter to do. Probably I’d have just done a small “J & L” if this had been an issue. After an unsuccessful attempt to buy a wooden letter at multiple craft stores (they were all way too small), I came across this website. I chose the thinnest option because I didn’t want an outrageously large letter hanging in a spot that gets as much traffic as this does. It took just under a week to be delivered.

Originally we had planned on saving our own corks for this project. This presented two problems: 1. We drink basically the same three brands of wine at all times, and I liked the idea of having a wide variety on the letter; 2. Most of the corks we have on our own are the little plastic ones (I have decided without any research that red wine usually has “real” corks and white wine now has “fake” corks. It’s possible that this is a thousand percent inaccurate).

We stopped by a local winery when we were out and about to ask if they had any corks lying around to get rid of. Shout out to Pop More Corks of Lake Geneva for being as generous as they were! We walked out with a bag full of corks that they planned on just throwing away, and we were told to come back any time we needed more.

The construction of this was a lot of trial and error. Initially, I cut both large and small pieces to cover about six inches of the letter. This was a horrible idea; I wasn’t attaching them as I placed them, so when I warmed up the glue gun I ended up with small pieces everywhere whose placement I couldn’t remember.

I switched to placing only the halves around the entire “S” and glued them as I went. This was much easier because they were big pieces and we had decided it would look cooler if you could see what the media was from far away. The halves were the hardest pieces to cut, and I had to take about a million breaks in between to make my hand stop hurting. I’m not sure if there’s a way to soften the corks or something before slicing them, but if I ever do another project like this I’m going to find one.

After the halves, I sliced corks into much smaller pieces and glued them into spots they would fit. A new type of injury came with this… hot glue all over my fingers. I think as I develop patience, I’ll hurt myself less during projects. I tend to try to get things done fast without being very careful once I know what I’m doing, and I think this lack of concentration gets the best of me when sharp and hot tools are involved.

The final mistake I made, or maybe the first, was not attaching some sort of apparatus to hang the letter before putting all the corks on. It was really hard to put enough pressure on the wood once it was floating a quarter inch above the table surface. Sidenote – I’m embarrassed at how many “oops” moments were involved in this project. This is why you should find and follow tutorials rather than just guessing how to make things.


This letter has replaced Sam’s paw print art in the living room/kitchen area. I’m not sure if that will actually be on display anywhere from here on out, but I’m hoping that we can find some hidden spot to put it up.

Maybe one of the greatest parts about this project though, was one of the corks fate had us end up with:

diy message board.

I’ve seen message boards all over pinterest, and finally I created my own after looking at a number of examples to find some inspiration.

Luckily I have a ton of picture frames that had been spray painted a year ago to decorate my apartment. I painted over a smaller one with black acrylic and found a piece of colored paper in my stash of extra. I printed the words “I ______ you because…” in Century Gothic (my favorite font) and hand wrote the word “love” with a sharpie. I have a bunch of extra dry erase markers from an old calendar, so we’re using one of those to write on the glass.

That means this project was FREE! Talk about an added bonus. I did make the mistake of using a frame that’s unable to stand on its own, so right now it’s just leaning against the wall on top of the dresser. It works for us since it’s in a spot that nobody else ever sees; it also adds some different dimension next to a watercolor I did last summer.

diy sharpie mugs.

I don’t drink coffee. And the big guy has specific mugs he uses for his morning coffee that are proportional to what the Keurig pours. But we do use mugs for cookie cups on a pretty consistent basis. ┬áBecause I’ve seen a million diy mugs on pinterest, I wanted to make some that we could use for our desserts.

I drew block letters that we then traced on two mugs that were in the back of the cabinet. I kind of wish I hadn’t decided to write my name too, because it looked nice with just the monogram, but luckily I had a partner in crime who didn’t mind making his match.

These were super simple; just popped them in the oven at 350 for a half hour. There are a lot of tutorials online that use porcelain paint to do projects like these, but after seeing one with sharpie instead I figured it would be easier (and cheaper!) to just use what we already had for supplies.

I don’t know whether they’ll hold up after being washed with the thin sharpies we used, so it’s very possible that the porcelain paint is necessary for durability. Either way, I’m happy with how easy this project was and how much use the mugs will probably get regardless of what they look like.

upcycled mirror.

I found a really old mirror driving past a garage sale, and worked a deal on the price. It was in pretty rough shape; I think I counted three paint colors in some spots. I bought some primer and colored spray paint and went to town on it.

It only took a couple hours and I had a brand “new” mirror! This project was super easy, and definitely a steal considering how hard it is to find a mirror like this in a store.

pup-casso.

Over the weekend, I tried to turn Sam into an artist. Instead, I turned Sam into a disaster. I’d go into details about the process, but I will just say that this project is probably not meant for puppies. Hopefully if I ever tackle this again (in his old age), he’ll be more cooperative. Also, his large size made the whole thing a little more complicated. If nothing else, we bonded some more.

I did a random search for diy dog art and found this one I liked. I didn’t use treats with Sam, but walked him in circles with his leash instead. My original plan was to use three colors, but after the two that are included he looked at me like there was no way we were going any further.

Sam’s art project has grown on me after I’ve looked at it for a few days on the wall in the living room. I think long term, it will probably be in a room with less traffic. Not that I’m not proud of this little guy’s skills, obviously. I think I just need to start embracing more basic decor, or at least not have the focal point be something so….. unique if I plan on entertaining.