make this: diy match strike votive

Sometimes the best projects are quick and easy and today I’m sharing a fun one. In a never-ending effort to declutter our apartment (and make it purty!), I’m always looking for ways to decant things into pretty containers. For the most part, labels = lots and lots of visual clutter. So, I made this cute match strike votive.

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Let me explain. I love me some candles. They immediately make me feel more relaxed and candle light makes everything look amazing, so you’ll find them everywhere in 816. What’s not pretty? Boxes of matches or those long lighters. So I turned some glass thrift store votives into a cute matches storage with an awesome twist! I put the striking texture on the bottom of the votive! Grab your match, strike, and bam! Your candle is lit. (Okay maybe it’s not that exciting but it’s still pretty cool.)

Here are the steps to this quick project!

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Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. It’s not a huge renovation or super crafty project, but it fixed a problem (removing the clutter of labels), made something a little more stylish (always the goal), and it is dang fun to just strike a match on the bottom of that glass. I’ve got three votives around the apartment for easy lightning quick candle lighting… you know, in case you need mood lighting stat!

What are your favorite quick and easy projects?

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make this: diy embroidery hoop mobiles

Good morning and happy Monday! We’re another week into the new year, and for real, I am blowing through my to-do lists and resolutions. The office is coming along quite swimmingly and we’ll get the details and reveal up towards the end of the week! But today I’m sharing another super easy project that plays up my new true blue obsession! Last weekend, I decided it was time to take down the falling leaves installation we put up before Thanksgiving and replace it with something fresh and new.

And thus, these embroidery hoop mobiles were born! Ya’ll these are so easy to make but they look insanely cool. They’ve got a hint of mid-century cool mixed with a modern, fun color! They play up our big canvas art perfectly and I’m in love with them! So, I imagine you’re now asking yourself how one would go about creating the awesome-ness that is these mobiles. Well, have no fear because I’m going to tell you and in about 30 minutes you’ll have your own!

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All you need are embroidery hoops in 3 different sizes. You actually get two pieces from one embroidery hoop, so these are super inexpensive to make. I think the whole project cost me about $5.00.

So, I bought 6 embroidery hoops total from my local craft store to make four orbs and everything else, I already had at home. But, to complete the project, you’ll also need a hot glue gun, ribbon (for hanging), and craft paint and a paint brush

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First up, I took the embroidery hoops apart, removed the little screw that keeps the two hoops together, and hot glued the split hoop so it was one complete circle.

Next, I painted one of each size in a bright blue. I wanted to leave the majority of the hoops with the natural wood finish and go with just one pop of color for each orb but you could easily paint all of the hoops one or several colors depending on the look you’re going for!Embroidery-Hoop-Mobile-(9)-copy

Then just hot glue your hoops together. I tried to make sure the brackets were at the very top of the orbs so you wouldn’t be able to see them jutting out while they hang. Start with your biggest hoop and hot glue the next size down to the very top at a perpendicular angle. Go down to your smallest hoop and turn it in a different direction so you get the orb effect.

Then just string them up! Keeping the brackets on the tops of the orbs makes this super easy! Just string ribbon of your choice through and attach to a dowel or shapely stick!

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Now, you’re ready to hang and admire! Another easy-peasy, inexpensive project in the books!

Since we’ve moved into our new apartment, 816, I think I’ve swapped out the hanging decorations in our dining room more than any other décor! It’s just so fun to think up new things to hang! First we had our no-sew paper strip mobiles, then the falling leaves, and now these fun embroidery hoop orbs!

What kind of hanging décor do you have in your house? Mostly light fixtures or do you get creative? I’d love more ideas and inspiration so share below!

diy: falling leaves installation

Yesterday, I shared our fresh take on fall décor and now we’re back to share the tutorial on the amazing Falling Leaf installation we created to celebrate the autumn months! Seriously, this is probably my favorite holiday project to date.

Here’s what you’ll need to create a similar version!

  • Dollar store silk leaves (Since you’re painting them, they don’t have to be high quality. I just looked for a shape that I liked.)
  • Craft paint (I used a plum and burgundy color)
  • Paint brushes
  • Mod podge
  • Glitter
  • Fishing line
  • A cool looking branch (You could probably get a nice, smooth decorative one from a craft store, but I just tracked mine down from outside. You can’t beat 100% free.)

The first thing I did was paint the leaves. Most have two coats so they show a solid color but I did leave a few the prettier ones with just one coat to get that marble-y colored goodness.

 For the glittery ones, I used a foam brush to apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the leaf and then pressed it into a plate full of glitter. With this, you’ll want to make sure to push all of the edges into the glitter to make sure everything is covered. I stopped here, but if you wanted to add a layer of anti-glitter rain protection, you could use a clear spray sealant to keep the glitter in place.

After all my leaves had dried, I used a needle to thread a length of fishing line through the leaves. I tried to mix up the location of the string so that the leaves would be ‘falling’ in a more whimsical fashion (not just all point straight down).

 Once you finished stringing your leaves, you can start tying them to your branch. The easiest way to do this is to hang the branch somewhere temporarily and then add the leaves. Less tangling and it’s easier to see make sure your leaves are spread out.

Now, it’s time to hang! We used our track lighting to our benefit and hung the branch from there using more fishing line and binder rings! They just slip right over the light. You could also use ceiling hooks to create the same affect. The whole project weighs less than a pound so it’s not creating a huge strain on the light fixture and it can easily be removed after the season ends.

 Isn’t it lovely? The leaves sway lazily in the breeze from our AC and the colors just scream autumn!

The only purchase I made for this project was the leaves which I snagged from the Dollar Tree for $2.00. Everything else I had on hand. It took a few hours total and, since I’m pretty lacking in the height department, my super awesome husband helped me with the hanging steps.

 And it’s done. A pretty easy project with a huge payoff.

 Do you ever use outdoor materials like branches, leaves, or maybe pine cones in your home for decoration? What are some big impact projects you’ve done with tiny price tag? I’d love to see them!

our colorful life: Josh’s new classroom + easy DIY ideas for teachers!

Last month, Josh started his first post-graduate position as a high school math teacher. Luckily, he asked me to help decorate and set it up, so I didn’t have to beg. The room he was issued was in major need of renovations, so together we made it a colorful learning environment without spending a fortune. Enjoy some easy DIY tips for teachers and Josh’s bright classroom.

With a virtually non-existant budget, I set out to create as many free things as possible. Almost all of the posters and signs displayed in his classroom I created with some free font downloads and photoshop.

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The first thing we did was clean and paint! Seriously, this room was in desperate need of some TLC, so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. Josh picked out a bright orange for the walls and blue for the trim. A fresh coat of paint did wonders and the colors really livened up the space.

Thanks to Pinterest, I found all sorts of ideas to make decorating easier. With the exception of one, all of Josh’s bulletin board space is actually very grimey chalkboard. We used super inexpensive plastic table cloths in bright colors to cover the boards and add signs and posters with tape. We ended up using heavy duty, double sided carpet tape to keep everything up, so the table cloths probably won’t be reusable, but they’re so cheap that it won’t hurt to replace them if necessary.

Also, for any teachers out there, I found all of the bulletin board letters at the Dollar store! Super cheap and they actually came in cute, non-cheesy patterns!

We added some fun patterned wrapping paper that we already owned to the back of his built-in bookshelf to spice things up.

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Perhaps my favorite aspect of the room are these celebrity inspired posters. Josh found quotes from familiar faces and I put them together in Photoshop. It took almost no time but they look so awesome grouped together on this board!

Now for the comparison! We made sure to take lots of before and after pictures to show exactly what we were working with. The end results are so awesome!

Don’t you wish Josh was your math teacher?! It was a lot (A LOT!) of work but it turned out so great that I’m glad to help. We actually spent the majority of our two year wedding anniversary working on his room to make sure it was completed before school started but it was totally worth it!

window shopping: anthropologie

I’ll admit it; before yesterday, I had never stepped foot in Anthropologie. Not because I don’t admire their style and aesthetic, but because I’ve never lived in a city that had one and they are ungodly expensive. But yesterday, I decided to venture out of the house before cabin-fever-craziness set in and explore Dallas a little. I first stopped at World Market with my b-day coupon in hand to scour the summer sales and came home with some adorable and bright patio seating! (More on that soon).

After that, I just headed down the same road to see the sights. I didn’t even know I was in route to pass Anthro until I saw it and immediately turned into the shopping center. Turns out, I just drove into the seriously high-end area of Dallas. Stores like Chanel, Dianne von Furstenberg, and Christian Louboutin caught me eye and made me realize I’d only ever seen these stores in the movies!

Of course, on a casual outing, I didn’t really feel properly attired to visit those stores, but I did step in Anthropologie to see what all the fuss was about. Here’s what I loved:

My first Instagram pic! Am I horribly lame for just now getting into this? Probably.

These colorful bowls would be perfect for dips and desserts. I imagine the gorgeous patterns would make even vanilla ice cream look stylish!

These beautiful decorating books caught my eye. They have definitely been added to my ‘books to buy’ list, but I’ll probably be picking them up from Amazon.

I thought this instillation was really neat and could easily be replicated in your own home! Hanging from the strings are simply paint stirrers! They were painted and then hung to match the pattern above it. You would easily grab a piece of wood, paint a simple striped or geometric pattern on it, maybe add a glossy top coat, drill equally spaced holes, and hang the coordinating paint stirrers (maybe with twine or even yarn to match the colors). I bet if you used paint you had leftover from other home projects, you could complete this project for a steal!

Do you shop often at Anthropologie or just go to gaze lovingly? And, where are you on the Instagram train? I’d love to hear from you!

our bold, striped living room curtains (made from bedsheets!)

Well it’s more like one curtain.

And it’s not because the other curtain is on tour or in rehab (again). It’s because our new apartment has a really odd spacing between the window and the patio door. See:

With that really skinny area to the right of the window, it would be hard to finagle two full curtain panels without blocking the patio door and/or crowding the window. So we went with one large, bold panel to the left. It takes away the empty space of that corner and adds a really graphic punch to the living room.

The search for fabric was quite extensive. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money and I wanted to have a big pattern. So after coming up empty handed I decided to DIY my own pattern and make these big, horizontal stripes and believe it or not these are made from bed sheets!

I picked up two twin sheets from Wal-Mart (about $4.50 each), measured and cut the stripes, then put them back together with the no-sew bonding tape! Just call me Dr. Frankenstein!

I really like how it turned out and I love how the living room is pulling together. In fact, we might declare this room ‘done’ pretty darn soon.

Have you done any fabric projects lately? What are your resources to find the perfect one? Share below!

Ten Dollars of Goodwill-y Goodness!

A Goodwill trip always starts with the need to make a donation. I pile the stuff into our car, pull into the drive-thru drop off, and make sure to get a receipt for our taxes. Then as I’m rounding the building, I always decide to just stop in and see if there’s anything worthwhile. Most of the time… there is. Now that I’m learning more about repurposing and upcycling, I try to see the potential in the items that clutter the shelves. Here’s what I got on my last trip:


1. Picture frame/bulletin board combo. It’s headed to the kitchen in combination with a new family calendar (that’s on its way).*

2. Loofas. Yes, loofas. I bought loofas from Goodwill. Here’s how I justified it: they were pre-packaged (not used!) and they were cheaper than those at the grocery store. Why the heck not?

3. Silver hoops. I’ve never really been a huge fan of hoop earrings, but I saw these and decided to give them a try. At just $1.99, they were the perfect trial pair.

4. I love this wooden jewelry box. I have a lot of jewelry and no real good storage solution for it. This box is like having 4-in-1. It folds back up into one tower and you can pull out whichever drawer you need. It’s in need of a good scrub and I’m thinking about jazzing it up a little, somehow. And at just $2.99, it was a bargain!


5. And lastly, I picked up these fun, jazzy silhouettes. Once they’re cleaned up (and maybe painted different colors) they would look so great in the office. The office is a completely different vibe from the rest of the apartment. It’s much more relaxed with apple green walls and fun art. It really that room’s personality and I only paid $1.75 for the set. Once these go up, I’ll be sure to give post a photo tour of our work space.

*And I just noticed they didn’t charge me for the frame! It was originally priced at $3.55 but it’s not on my receipt. By my calculations, the massive donation clothing and electronics I donated today, should cover the frame.

In total, I was charged $10.05 for everything! What a good deal. I’m excited to get these things cleaned up and in place around the apartment. Updates to come on their landing!

Do you love to recycle and repurpose second hand items? Any good finds lately? Link up and share you projects below!