More Personalization for Pets

A couple months ago, I first experimented with using stencils to create personalized items for my pets, i.e. a custom wooden toy box for my dog, Sandy (which you can read about here).

Recently, I purchased a wire and wood basket at Michaels Craft Store to better organize cans of food and containers of treats for my cat, Olive.

While I’m still not a pro at stenciling, I am definitely making progress. I also was able to reuse the set of stencils I purchased for my first project for Sandy.

The first time I used these stencils on Sandy’s toy box, I applied too much pressure while applying the paint and let the paint dry too long, resulting in some of the blue lines of the stencil transferring onto the surface I was painting. I then had to remove the blue bits with tweezers. This time I removed the stencil sooner after painting, but possibly a little too soon – as you can see, there is some smudging in the bottom corner of Olive’s name. I’m hoping to get the timing just right on my next try!

Here are some photos I took along the way and a glimpse at the final basket with Olive’s name!

Feel free to share in the comments what you think I should personalize next! I am always looking for ideas and additional opportunities to practice stenciling.

Positioning the stencils.

Taping the letter stencils down so they don’t move while I paint (even though the backs are sticky, the extra reinforcement helps make sure they don’t shift).

The supplies I used.

I applied the painting by carefully dabbing.

Almost there!

Ta-da!

DIY Marble Coasters

Growing up, my mom had a lot of rules about what you could and couldn’t put on wood surfaces. As a child, I didn’t really understand why these were necessary, but when I became an adult with my own furniture that I worked hard to buy, I was glad my mother instilled in me how to take care of these surfaces. As a result, I always have a supply of coasters on hand for family and guests (and me) to use.

Recently, the set of cork coasters my mother gifted me several years ago when I moved into my condo, started to look worn. As the time to discard of those grew nearer, I decided to make my next set of coasters.

Having been looking at flooring a lot online recently for my kitchen, I decided to order a sheet of Carrara white marble 4inch hexagonal tiles to make the coasters. The sheet included 12 tiles and cost about $15 (shipping was free). I’ve always seen marble coasters in home stores and thought they were beautiful, but too expensive. So I was super excited to test out my coaster version of a “look for less.” Not only was this project budget-friendly, it was also quick, once I had all of the supplies.

Supplies

  • 12. 4-inch polished hexagonal marble tiles
  • 72 1/2-inch diameter adhesive felt pads

Feel free to make more or less than 12 coasters depending on your needs. Also, feel free to substitute the hexagonal shape tiles with round or square ones. I used 6 adhesive felt pads per tile. When I moved to my new home, my dad gave me a pack of hundreds of adhesive felt pads of varying sizes. No surprise, the leftover pads from the move ended up in my craft room. However, adhesive felt pads can be found in a number of stores for relatively cheap like Home Depot, Target, or even a Dollar Store.

Step 1

Carefully peel each tile off the netted backing that binds them together.

Step 2

Flip over each polished tile to the bottom (the side that was adhered to the netting) and apply a felt pad to each corner. Feel free to add additional pads if you see fit.

Step 3

Repeat for each additional tile you have and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Valentine’s Day Banner

Looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day craft? Whether it is a quick and easy project for your kids, students, or just yourself, this Valentine’s Day decor banner is the perfect!

Supplies

  • Banner Paper or Pad (Also feel free to cut your own banner pieces from construction or scrapbooking paper)
  • Alphabet Stickers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ribbon

I had clear tape, ribbon (I used 1/4 inch pink satin ribbon, but feel free to use thicker ribbon or a different color), and scissors at home. Since we recently painted our walls, I used removable masking tape to hang the banner to prevent any damage when the decoration was taken down. I purchased the pad on clearance at Michaels Craft Store and used a coupon on the letters – bringing my total out-of-pocket cost of this project to about $7.

Step 1

My pad has three different types of paper – polka dot, striped and solid. So first, I decided on the pattern I would like my banner pieces to follow. Then I tore each page I was using out of the pad. I was very impressed with how easily and cleanly they tore out!

Step 2

Choose your saying (and make sure you have the letters to complete it). I chose the words “I LOVE YOU.” Peel off each letter and place one letter on each triangular page. Leave a blank banner for space between each word.

Step 3

Lay out your saying banner. Then flip over each banner page. Leave yourself about 6-12 inches of ribbon to hang your banner with before taping the ribbon down to the wide end of each triangle. I placed 2 pieces of clear tape on each page – one on either side about a 1/4 inch from what would become the “top” of the banner page when it is hanging.

Step 4

Leave about a half inch between each piece of paper and continue taping the ribbon to the back of each banner page. Leave another 6-12 inches of ribbon before cutting the ribbon.

Step 5

Use masking tape to hang up and enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

5-Minute DIY Holiday Wreath

This holiday season I was proud of myself for starting (and finishing) some holiday tasks early, but I was also disappointed for not giving myself as much time as I would have liked to spend on other tasks. One of the projects I waited to complete until the last minute was creating a wreath for my front door.

As a result, I designed a wreath that had all the elements I wanted but took only about 5 minutes to complete once I had all of my supplies.

Supplies

  • 18 inch wreath
  • Old Christmas ornaments
  • 2 bunches of seasonal stems
  • 1.5 inch wide red velvet ribbon or pre-made red bow
  • 1/4 inch red ribbon optional
  • Glue gun and glue sticks

All of the supplies other than the glue gun/glue sticks and the old Christmas ornaments, I purchased at Michaels Craft Store.

Step 1

Separate the branches of the seasonal stems. I found it easier to peel the sections apart as opposed to cutting them.

Step 2

Arrange the seasonal stems on your wreath.

Tip: Take a photo of your arrangement. That way, you can test out a few different arrangements, compare the photos, decide which you like best, and easily recreate it if needed.

Step 3

Add Christmas ornaments to the inner and outer sides of the wreath. Last year, I had a mini Christmas tree, for which I bought smaller ornaments. Now that I have a larger tree this year, I had no use for the smaller ornaments. Rather than discard of them, I keep them with my craft supplies should I need them for a DIY holiday decor project like this. I alternated between silver and gold balls.

Step 4

Once you are satisfied with your arrangement, use a glue gun to secure the seasonal stems and ornaments to the wreath. I picked up the branches, applied glue underneath them and repositioned the branches after to ensure no globs of glue were visible on my completed wreath.

Step 5

Use the velvet ribbon to tie a bow and to glue it to the top center of the wreath. I chose to use several pieces of ribbon to make my bow and secured them together with a 1/4 inch red ribbon. Feel free to also use the velvet ribbon to secure the bow or to use a pre-made bow to complete your wreath.

Step 6

Remove any glue webs.

Step 7

Hang up your wreath and enjoy!

Cooking at Sur La Table

My mom is an excellent cook. For as long as I can remember, she feels at ease in the kitchen and is always challenging herself to learn new techniques and try new recipes. While I have always admired her passion for homemade meals, I sadly am inexperienced in the kitchen (except when it comes to baking).

Therefore, every few months, I like to treat my mom to a cooking class. It is a great opportunity for both of us to learn together, despite our different levels of expertise. While we have explored a number of cooking schools over the past couple of years, a favorite has become Sur La Table.

On Saturday, we took a Homemade Ravioli Workshop. The chef leading the class provided a booklet with instructions, a live demonstration, and answered all of the questions our small group had along the way. In this particular class, we made a smoked salmon ravioli with a vodka cream sauce and a sausage ravioli with a tomato sauce.

The class was two hours long with a short break in the middle. At the end of class, we sat down and enjoyed the ravioli we made. I was surprised to find that pasta dough and ravioli were a lot easier to make than I expected. It was great motivation for me to try new recipes, which I am excited to do for Thanksgiving next week.

While a full price classes can be expensive (this class was $69 per person), Sur La Table often has specials like half price classes.

Here are some photos from the class:

Rolling out the pasta dough was a process! All hands were on deck for this portion of the class.

We made both round and square ravioli. While the square ravioli may not be as pretty, it wasted a lot less dough.

The final product! First, salmon ravioli and below it the sausage. The salmon was definitely my favorite. At first, I felt like the salmon and vodka sauce seemed like an odd combination, but it was absolutely delicious! I can’t want to make the recipe for my fiancé!

Have you taken a class you love? Feel free to share in the comments.