This Week’s Pet Project: Personalized Dog Toy Box

Even though my home needs a lot more work (for example, I have plywood instead of a counter on one side of my kitchen), I am trying not to focus on just the big projects. Therefore, this weekend, I took a trip to Michaels Craft Store to load up on picture frames (on sale, of course) and supplies for “little touches” around the home. My first project: personalizing my dog’s toy box.

I found this great wooden box during Fall Clearance at Michaels Craft Store and instantly knew it would make a great toy box to keep in my living room for my lab, Sandy. She’s fallen in love with it too — constantly emptying out her toy box all over the room!

I decided to liven it up a bit by adding Sandy’s name and a design underneath. As it was my first time using decor stencils and chalk paint, I definitely learned a few good tricks and a few things not to do along the way.

Supplies

  • Letter stencils
  • Design stencil (I chose one with an arrow to include under Sandy’s name)
  • Chalk Paint
  • Paint Sponge
  • Wooden Box
  • Masking Tape
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors

The box, masking tape, tweezers, and scissors I had at home. All other supplies I purchased from Michaels Craft Store.

Step 1

First, choose a letter and accent design that you like. For this project, I used two different types of stencils. The first one required the letters be peel off and the second just required the design be placed over the the destination.

Step 2

As mentioned, my letters were of the “peel and stick” variety. Since I wanted to minimize the space between the letters, I trimmed the sides, as shown below.

Step 3

Arrange letters how you would like them to appear. I used masking tape as a guide of how to center the letters as well as to hold them down once I peeled the backs off, as the adhesive on the letters was weak. The advantage of this though is that I was able to lift and arrange the letters several times before committing to a spacing.

Step 4

Use the sponge to gently dab paint over each letter. Once done, let dry.

Step 5

Peel off the masking tape and stencils. Here is where I made a beginners mistake — I let the paint dry too long or pressed down too hard and some of the blue stencil stuck to the white paint when I lifted the stencils. But picking off the sticky blue lines with tweezers was a quick fix!

Step 6

I repeated the same steps for the second stencil — an arrow which I placed under Sandy’s name. Since this stencil did not have an adhesive, I used masking tape to keep it in place while I painted.

Step 7

After removing the tape and the stencil, I cleaned up the edges a bit with a fresh, damp sponge brush and voila!

DIY Housewarming Basket

My best friend, Danielle, recently moved out of her parents home and into her own townhouse. While I knew Danielle had stocked up on kitchen supplies and the like prior to moving in, I was unsure of anything she really needed. Therefore, instead of buying her one big housewarming gift, I decided to put together a basket of smaller home essentials. Many items of which would still be nice and useful even if she already had one.

Here’s the breakdown of the basket:

1. Decorative “Basket”

Instead of getting a traditional basket or storage container (which would be another great idea), I chose a decorative wire basket from And That!. The rose gold basket is a great item she could display on her coffee table and use to minimize clutter on it. I paid $4.99 for mine. Here is a small storage option from Target, that would also make a great base for a housewarming gift and could then be reused by the homeowner in a closet, bathroom, etc.

2. Kitchen Towels

Something I learned quickly as a new homeowner is that you can never have too many towels! I found these nice gray striped towels at Home Goods. The color is neutral, so she can use in pretty much any setting. Luckily, she had a gray-themed kitchen as well. Similar ones are available at William-Sonoma.

3. Candle

Since my friend is a teacher, I thought a “Snow Day” scented candle would be a cute and humorous choice. The scent was also light, which would appeal to a wide range of tastes. I found this item at TJMaxx.

4. Aromatherapy Hand Soap

Coming home after a long day is such a nice feeling. Like many, the first thing I do when I walk in the door is wash my hands. Therefore, I found a Stress-Relief Hand Soap at Bath and Body Works as a first step to relaxing after a long day. The dispenser would be perfect for any kitchen or bathroom setting.

5. Aloe Plant

Personally, I think it is so important to have house plants. And often, a plant is a common housewarming gift. Aloe has many uses, so I thought I would get Danielle one. It was a little difficult to track down one in winter, but I ended up getting the very last one that Home Depot had.

6. Quote Sign

I saw this little sign at Michaels Craft Store and just had to get it! The sign reads “HOME is the nicest word there is.” I thought it was perfect for a new homeowner or really any homeowner for that matter! Such a sign would also be super easy to make if there is a specific quote or words of wisdom you’d like to share (just print it out and frame).

7. A Mini Champagne Bottle

Moving or buying a home is a big undertaking and a big accomplishment. It is definitely worth celebrating. I personally am not a big alcohol drinker and my friend lives alone, so I got a mini Barefoot Pink Moscato Champagne bottle. A similar option should be available at a local wine or liquor store.

As a housewarming gift-getter or gift-giver, what would you add to my housewarming basket? I’d love to hear in the comments below.