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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in DIY (20)

Sunday
Sep082013

DIY–Fancy Frames for Family Photos

So right before I started writing this easy DIY post, I did a little research and realized that perhaps my decision to DIY might have been a mistake?

Maybe not a mistake, but I should have done the research before breaking out the spray cans.

I’ll get to that in a sec.

If you’re a long-time reader and still notice when I post these days, you might remember my DIY Wall Collage post. I’m working on doing another one, but it’s been slow going. We have officially been in this house a year and you would be SHOCKED at how much and how little I have accomplished here. The living room and dining room are still extreme works in progress. Remember the goose-neck couch I was going to recover? It’s still in its horrid maroon fabric, just waiting to be recovered in the dark dove gray fabric I have yet to purchase.

But there is plan.

The plan is to re-create the family collage, but this time I want all the frames to be the same color. I’m working on framing pictures I had printed from The Candyman’s side of the family and re-framing some of my old family portraits. It’s really hard to find oval frames or to have them made at a reasonable price. I have a few of those that are really old. I decided to spray paint them black, to have consistency with all the other frames.

I started by taping them off with that painter’s tape stuff you can get at any home improvement or paint shop and an old paper bag.

And then I waited. And waited. And waited. I waited for a day where it didn’t rain so I could spray paint. Have you read about the weather in The South lately? One of my friends said it has only rained twice, once for 16 days and again for 22 days. So when I finally got a dry, sunny day, here’s what happened.

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I laid out the old frames on a trash bag and got my can of black spray paint and an old rag.

Both of the frames are old and cracked and chipped so I used an old rag to get off any dust or dirt or whatever might be clinging to them. One thing I didn’t want to do was get paint on the back of the frames. Why? Because this was on the back.

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George C.J. Bailey Art Shop? What’s that? This is where I should have stopped and gotten on to the interwebs.

The other part that I love about the back of this picture is that it has my grandmother’s handwriting (I’d recognize it anywhere) identifying that the photo is of “mother’s grandfather.” So my grandmother’s mother’s grandfather? So what is that, my great-great-great grandfather?

The othe other part? So it turns out that:

George C. J. Bailey was born 1868 in France of Welsh and Scottish ancestry. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1882. He was an art gallery salesman.

Turns out his daughter was a pulp artist. The Bailey gallery was in Rochester, New York, which is where my grandmother is from. So maybe I shouldn’t have spray painted what I’m certain is the original frame? Not sure, but it’s done so I can’t cry over sprayed paint.

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Start by spraying the sides of the frames so you can pick them up. Otherwise, you’ll be laying on the ground, trying to see if you got all the edges.

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Place it back down on your protected surface and spray the top parts.

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Once I finished, the clouds started rolling in (I couldn’t effing believe it), so I had to bring them in earlier than I wanted to and there might be a thumb print or two on an edge, but I doubt anyone will notice.

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A couple of days later, I pulled off the tape and paper. Unfortunately, I had some bleeding under my Frog tape, but I did not despair. I just took a little turpentine I got at Hobby Lobby and a Q-Tip and took care of it easy-peasy. Not every DIY goes 100% as planned. You gotta give yourself a little leeway.

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Here’s what they looked like when I was done:

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Isn’t my momma pretty?

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These two will join the the others that have been framed and those waiting to be framed, all hidden under the goose-neck couch that’s waiting to be recovered.

*sigh*

So much to do, so little. time. But the process sure is fun!

Wednesday
Apr182012

{DIY} When Your Parents Get Their Martha On

We had my parents in for Easter weekend. I baked  a ham. We ate lots of cheese. I went shopping with my mom (new work clothes were MUCH needed) and my dad and The Candyman went to a plane museum and ate cheeseburgers.

My mom and dad brought us the cutest little DIY projects they made. I shouldn’t be surprised though. My parents have always had the DIY things going on. My mom knits and sews and crotchets and shit. My dad is like McGuyver mixed with the guy from This Old House. He does things right, but he’s been known to get, uh….creative…with his projects. Leave him alone in the garage for too long and the next thing you know he’s built a whole closet contraption thing that’s on pulleys. If he borrows your shovel, he’ll clean it sharpen it, paint it and customize it with your name before he gives it back to you. And you think I’m exaggerating. Just ask him, he’ll teach you how to DIY all day long.

My mom made me a little bath pouf tree.

She said it might be a cute idea as a blog post. I think she’s right. How cute would these be at a little shower, all lined up in cute colors, or all in white – inexpensive too, right?

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Tiny terra cotta pots

Craft Moss

Floral Foam (also called Oasis)

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Bath Poufs

Green Crepe Paper

Craft Sticks

Strong Glue Dots

The hardest part will be wrapping the stick with crepe paper and sticking it into the pouf. Use a strong glue dot or three to keep the pouf attached. It won’t have to hold forever, just long enough to be cute!

OK, so check out what my dad made for us!

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He printed wedding pictures from off the blog (!) as well as one of my mom and printed them on transfer paper. Then he hollowed out some eggs, AIRBRUSHED them and then added on the pictures and the little Easter bit. I have no idea how he made these, but  aren’t they sweet? Since each egg has a little hole at the top and bottom, I’m going to run some ribbon through them and make them into Christmas ornaments!! How fun will that be? I’m totally gonna get my crafty Martha on!

And now it just hits me – it’s clear I was born to DIY. It’s in my blood.

Friday
Apr132012

Centerpieces–Lining & Layering

You know those cool centerpieces you see with all sorts of stuff in vases along with the flowers? Stuff that looks soooo cool and you're wondering, "How did they do that?" Or maybe it's just me who wonders. Well, wonder no more. It's so super easy. All you need is two glass vases, one to set inside the other, and some stuff to put in-between and around the small interior vase. Whether you DIY this with your own vases, or work with your florist to create come cool looks, there are ALL SORTS OF THINGS you can use to help you with the look and feel of your centerpieces. Here are some visual ideas, but make sure you scroll through the pics for more ideas:

 

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Via 33 Shades of Green. Are they Red Hotsor Red Skittles?

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Via The Wedding Chicks for a sweet treat!

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Via B-Movie Star with lemons and white, brown and colored eggs.

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Sequins in water! A BLINGTASTIC IDEA via Lauren Conrad and cut limes by Tiny White Daisies.

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Leafy liners via Veranda and The Knot.

Or how about some of these ideas....

Coffee Beans

Pennies

Marbles

Rocks

Dried Beans (peas, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, etc)

Gum Balls

Mini Glass Christmas Balls

Lace or Fabric, scrunched and layered

Popcorn (popped or unpopped)

Vintage paper from old books

Raffia

Faux Robin's Eggs

Cotton Bolls

 Curly Willow

Think about what the them of your weddings is. What's special to you and your beau that you could incorporate subtly (or not so subtly!).

What would you use?  

Friday
Feb242012

{Kitchen Tutorial} It’s a Frugalista Friday!

So everyone wants to save money these days, right? I know I do.

Because I can, I’ve been cooking just about every single meal from breakfast to dinner at home. I make The Candyman his lunch to take to work. We rarely eat out – something that’s VERY different from when we first met. It saves us money. We go out on special occasions or if it’s a night where I simply cannot face the stove or The Candyman the potential dishes. This averages out to about once every 4-6 weeks for dinner, maybe once every 3-5 weeks for weekend brunch/lunch. 

Something that chaps my ass when it comes to cooking at home is when we don’t eat something fast enough and it goes bad. I’ve been challenged (I suppose this is a personal one) to make sure I use up all of what I buy. It totally depresses me to throw out food and honestly, it totally makes me think about the starving children in Biafra.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans throw away nearly 31.6 million tons of food every year. And a recent University of Arizona study found that the average family tosses 1.28 pounds of food a day, for a total of 470 pounds a year! That's like throwing away $600!

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I can avoid tossing out $600, I’m going to at least try.

So in our house, it’s the veggies that tend to find their way into the trash can, squishy and rotten after a week in the frig. Sometimes the fruit goes, but we are almost always able to gobble it up in time. However, I think I’ve FINALLY figured out a way to make the most of our food-investment on the regular. It takes a bit of prepping, but I’ve found it’s totally worth it. It saves us money and time in the long run.

First, word on the internet-street is that you should store your fruits and veggies separately. This is true. There’s a reason why they have those drawers labeled as such in your frig. Some sort of gas builds up when you store them together, causing them to rot faster, so there’s your first step. Segregate your produce.

The internet powers-that-be also say that you should perforate plastic storage bags you keep your veggies in. They say you should store lots of things unwashed and in a single layer. OK, fine. I hear you. But who the hell has the time lay out all your blueberries in a SINGLE LAYER? I also find that if I perforate the bags, they may not rot as fast, but they still go soft. Celery and asparagus lose their crisp and who wants bendy celery? Gross.

So what’s the trick? Paper towels. Check out the tutorial below.

Here’s what my countertop looks like when I get home from the grocery:

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Items are semi-damp from those weird misting machines. I could shove it all in the frig and just deal with it as it comes about, but I get lazy during the week. I don’t feel like washing a head of lettuce to make a sandwich for The Candyman at 6am. I don’t feel like rinsing and snapping asparagus for dinner. If the prep work is already done,  I’m more inclined to just shove said asparagus under the broiler and be done with it.

Here’s what you need:

Fruits/Veggies

Paper towels

Salad Spinner

Strainers

Ziploc bags

Sharpie

It helps to have more than one strainer. When I do all this, I do it in bulk and have them all rinsing and straining at the same time.

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The collapsible over-the-sink strainer is the bomb diggity (red/white one on the bottom). I got mine at Bed, Bathy & Beyond.

You should also invest in a salad spinner. It speeds drying time along quite nicely and works wonders with things like lettuce, parley, cilantro – anything leafy that you want to dry.

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They cost about $30 and though you think you can live without, you totally can’t. THIS is a good registry item.

So get to rinsing and prepping. Chop the bottoms off your lettuces to get all the leaves separated. Rinse and spin. Do the same for your kale, cilantro, parsley…leafy stuff. Once it’s all semi-dry, lay out a good length of paper towels (maybe 3 sheets or so) and lay your roughage out on them.

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Next, start at one end and roll it up, like a sushi roll.

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It’s a lettuce wrap!! Har-dee-har-har.

Sorry. That was bad.

So do this with everything. Wash and snap asparagus, rinse green onions and whack off the bottoms and wilty tops, rinse broccoli and chop off the gnarly stems. Whatever your veggie, this will work. Then put it in a Ziploc bag, squeeze out the air and seal. Write on the bag with a Sharpie so you know what’s in it.

I went through some stuff that was in my frig already. I came across 1o day old parsley. Instead of having the whole thing go bad, just this little part had.

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I pulled out the spoiled pieces, got some new paper towels and rolled it all back up again. I’ll be able to use the parsley for another week, at least. I keep it in the same labeled bag, just make sure that it’s still clean and dry. If it’s not, just wipe it out. I also wash and reuse the gallon sized plastic bags since they can be expensive. That may be a little too frugal-obsessive for some of you, but I’ve got the time to do it, so I do.

Fruits can be managed the same way. Rinse your berries and grapes and let them dry just a little. Also, if they came in one of those plastic clam shell things, rinse and dry that too. Line it with a paper towel and put the berries back in.

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When it’s all said and done, my food is prepped and ready to cook/eat.

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OK, so maybe you work 12 hours a day and you don’t buy fresh produce. Let’s say you buy the bagged lettuce, bagged broccoli heads – stuff that’s pre-washed and ready to go. Ever notice how that stuff tends to rot overnight? The quick and dirty version if you go that route (no judgment, I used to when I was working the corporate life), once you open that bag? Simply shove a paper towel in and around the bottom of the bag.

The paper towel thing? It absorbs the moisture and keeps it fresher longer. It makes it easy to grab and go.

A few exceptions:

  • Carrots, mini or other wise: These take forever to go bad, so I don’t worry about them. At all.
  • Mushrooms: I do the paper towel thing with them for moisture control, but since you’re supposed to wipe mushrooms clean versus rinsing them, I bag/towel them after I’ve opened them.
  • Cabbage: It’s too dense to do this with.
  • I also use plastic storage containers versus plastic bags sometimes. I just line them with paper towels.

And one last Frugalista Tip? If your bananas start to go bad? If they are spotting and brown and you know they are too mushy to eat? Stick them in the freezer. Once you’ve accumulated 3 or 4, use them to make banana baked goods. The skins will turn black when you freeze them. THIS IS OK! Occasionally, the insides will turn a light brown when you thaw them. THIS IS OK! The only thing it will do is make your bread or muffins or whatever a little darker in color. It doesn’t affect the taste AT ALL. The consistency will be a little strange when you thaw them too, but THIS IS OK. The occasional person may ask you why you keep rotten bananas in your freezer, but I’m here to tell you they aren’t rotten, just waiting to become yummy muffins.

What’s one of YOUR Frugalista tips? Do tell!

Tuesday
Jan312012

Hanging Teacups: How I’d Do It.

I saw this décor idea as I was perusing this website and thought it was cute as hell, even though I’ve seen it a few times before. Here’s a little teacup flower porn for ya. Scroll down for my "How I'd Do It." Maybe I should call it a faux-torial?

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This site gives a little DIY on how to make one of these as a hanging centerpiece, but the idea of using streamers is not one I think I’d use. If it gets wet, aren’t you screwed?

If I were going to DIY these suckers, I’d do this:

1. Find cute cups and saucers. I designed a lamp base once stacking mismatched cups and saucers on top of each other and then sent it off to China to have it mass produced. I spent some time rummaging around a Goodwill shop as well as an antique shop in Nashville. I found lots of cute little mismatched goodies for WAY cheap. I think I paid $10 for 6 cups and saucers. You can find them that cheap. Check out all the 99 cent deals on eBay!

2. Glue the teacup to the saucer. As someone who has worked with ceramics a LOT in her life, I would recommend a 2-part clear epoxy. You can get it at any Lowe's, Hone Depot or Hobby Lobby. It holds the best, is water tight and dries fast. DO NOT use Super Glue. Trust me.

3. Position the ribbon under the teacup. If your ribbon is less than an inch wide, use the multi-arm approach shown the last photo. If over an inch, you can just use one strip. I would lightly secure the ribbon to the bottom of the teacup using white duct tape (rolled, not showing) or those super-strength glue dots you can get at Hobby Lobby. Trust me, those things are serious forms of attachment.

4. Since water is kinda heavy, put only an inch or two of water in the teacup, just enough for the stems to sit in.  Fill with garden flowers, herbs, greenery or maybe succulents!

5. Tie your ribbon to your hanging apparatus and do it with a tight double bow/knot. Remember that ribbons that have a silky satiny finish will be slippery and might not be the best ribbon option. Something that has a bit of a texture will hold better when it’s tied as well as to the base of the saucer (the part underneath that’s unglazed).

I love this idea as a backdrop to an outdoor wedding, hanging from a giant tree, hanging across a bevy of smaller trees or from a chandelier at a shower. Just any ol’ time.

Do you love? I do!

Oh, and P.S. - There's a PODCAST including yours truly coming up this week! Stay tuned!