Best of 2017 & Gratitude

I don’t usually do these ’round-up’ kinda posts, though given we’re already into the second week of January and I still had a Christmas-themed project at the top of my blog I thought I’d better publish something new.

To be honest, the idea of looking back through my archives was a little daunting. I was dreading being confronted by how little I’d achieved for the year. Luckily, I was actually pleasantly surprised – just don’t go comparing me to anyone who’s semi-efficient though, mkay?

I know most bloggers select their annual top posts based on traffic stats though that’s all a bit fancy for me so I’ve just decided to choose some of my favourites.

So, here they are (in descending date order).

1  A BUDGET-FRIENDLY LAUNDRY ROOM REFRESH

DIY Mini Barn Door Tutorial

At the very beginning of the year I surprised you all (and myself!) with a super quick and inexpensive mini-makeover of my parent’s laundry/powder room. Such a rewarding project and fun transformation!

2  HOW TO ADD TRIM TO PLAIN DOORS

Budget Laundry Makeover with DIY Door Trim

Everyone loves an easy and effective DIY. This step-by-step tutorial showed you exactly how to add character to any boring door.

3  DIY MINI BARN DOORS…A COMPLETE TUTORIAL

How to Make these DIY Sliding Barn Doors

One of my most popular DIY projects ever! This was a complete experiment which actually worked perfectly (phew!).

4  DIY OVER-SIZE BOOK PAGE QUOTE ART

Custom Large Scale Quote Art Signs

I was completely overwhelmed by the response I received to these quote art signs. They were so popular I’ve already released two additional sets (and plan to share more in 2018!) plus began offering custom versions through my little shop.

EASY DIY FAUX MULTI-DRAWER CABINET HACK

DIY Multi-Drawer Cabinet...using vinyl peel and stick planks!

This was a project I’d been dreaming-up for a few years. And once I started it evolved into such an achievable DIY I couldn’t wait to share how anyone can create something similar with ease!

A FILE CABINET HACK

Farmhouse Style Filing Cabinet Redo

When Charlotte’s bedroom called for some practical craft storage I couldn’t go past a modern file cabinet…of course I had to make it look pretty too though.

THE RE-LOVE PROJECT 2017

Amazing DIY Perforated Dresser Upcycle

My absolute favourite project for the year…possibly ever! If you missed the transformation of this dresser, best you hop on over and check it out now.

CHARLOTTE’S BEDROOM REVEAL

After four years I finally managed to finish my daughter’s big girl room. It was worth the wait.

EASY DIY VINTAGE STYLE CANVAS PAINTINGS

DIY Antique Paintings

What’d you do when you can’t find your desired decor items at an affordable price? Have a go at making your own of course! This was a fun little project with charming results.

10  MY CHRISTMAS TREE

DIY Clay Ornaments

I know Christmas fades from existence the moment December 26 hits the calendar, however I’m still in love with this sweet little tree.

You can view all of my posts for 2017 here.

In other more important news, I wanted to extend all of my readers a huge THANK YOU!

You are the reason this little blog of mine keeps chugging along. You’re my main source of drive, excitement, anticipation and enthusiasm.

I am grateful for your e-friendship beyond words.

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How To Make Clay Ornaments & Gift Tags

The Best DIY Clay Tag & Ornament Tutorial

I wanted a really simple Christmas tree this year.

Earthy Neutral Christmas Tree

Complete with earthy tones and natural elements off-set by a delicate smattering of little white stars.

However, when I couldn’t find any said little white stars, I figured I’d have a go at making my own.

And I’m so glad I did!

Not only did it give me the opportunity to personalise my ornaments as desired, it was so quick and easy.

Natural Rustic Christmas Tree Decorations

The possibilities are virtually endless plus it’s a great project for the kids to get involved with too (as evidenced by the little hands in my tutorial pics!).

As a side note, I love the quirk of ‘Charlotte’ needing to spill over two lines…and the fact it took her a moment to recognise it was her name :)

YOU WILL NEED…

Clay Ornament Supplies

1 OVEN-BAKE CLAY

I used Sculpey Oven-Bake Polymer Clay in White (794 g/1.75 lb). I must admit, the price seems steep for the size of the pack and I hesitated at first though it goes a long way. I made close to 50 stars at a cost of around just 45 cents each.

Or course, you could also use air-dry clay, salt dough, baking soda dough, or other similar hard-setting mediums.

2 ROLLING PIN

Just to flatten out the clay.

3 COOKIE CUTTER

I used a simple star though you can get as creative as you like or go free-form!

4 SKEWER

Anything round and pokey should do the trick. This is just to create a hole for the string. I used a bamboo skewer though you could also use a knitting needle or drinking straw, or so on.

5 STAMPS (OPTIONAL)

This is entirely optional. I used some basic rubber letter stamps to create words and names. You could also use shape, image or pattern stamps, and even other textured items, like lace or leaves. I wanted a simple embossed look so didn’t use any ink though you can use regular stamp ink too if more defined markings are desired.

6 OVEN

To bake the clay.

7 STRING

I used my favourite; red and white baker’s twine.

 

THE PROCESS…

Easy DIY Baked Clay Ornaments

STEP 1 KNEAD

The clay is quite firm to begin with so knead it for a minute or two until it becomes smooth and pliable.

Use a clean, non-pourous surface to avoid soiling the clay or having it stick. You may even like to lay down some grease-proof paper.

Easy DIY Baked Clay Ornaments

STEP 2 ROLL

Flatten out the clay using a rolling pin.

The thickness is a personal preference. My stars vary a little though on average are around 6mm (1/4″) thick.

Oven-Baked Clay Tags Tutorial

STEP 3 CUT

Just like making cookies, use a cutter to create as many ornaments as desired.

Clay Ornaments DIY

STEP 4 PIERCE

Press a skewer through to create a string hole.

DIY Hand-Stamped Clay Ornaments

STEP 5 STAMP (OPTIONAL)

If desired, embellish your ornaments with some words, patterns or textures.

I left most of my stars blank though stamped several with Christmas-y words and family names. I also created a few to use as gift tags. They aren’t perfect though that’s the point – they have a lovely, organic, homespun quality which, ironically, is in fact perfect :)

As mentioned in the ‘You Will Need’ section above, I wanted a simple embossed look so didn’t use any ink though you can use regular stamp ink if a more prominent design is desired.

DIY Clay Ornaments

STEP 6 BAKE

Place on a baking tray and bake at 130° C (275° F) for around 15 minutes per 6mm (1/4″) of thickness.

Try not to over-bake as the clay may brown and bubble and can become brittle.

How to Make Oven-Bake Clay Tags Tutorial

STEP 7 THREAD

Once cool, attach some string to form a hanger.

Easy DIY Clay Tags

STEP 8 HANG!

It’s really that easy!

DIY Clay Ornaments

Of course, this is just one basic example of what you can do with oven-bake clay. Like I mentioned earlier, the possibilities are virtually endless.

You can also paint or seal the clay if you’re after a different colour or sheen. Just have a play around!

And remember, although I’ve used my clay stars as tree ornaments, don’t forget that they also make really beautiful gift tags.

Natural Neutral Christmas Tree Decorations

Signature

If you’d like to save this project for later, feel free to pin the image below.

How to Make Your Own Clay Tags & Ornaments

 

My First (decent) Christmas Tree!

Natural Neutral Rustic Christmas Tree

I’ve never had a decent Christmas tree.

The year we moved into our first home, we didn’t have one at all.

The following year we bought the cheapest, nastiest faux tree from the supermarket…for $12…the night before Christmas. Needless to say, it wasn’t the finest of specimens.

A few years later we ‘upgraded’ to another faux tree from a different supermarket. Let’s just say it’s not that hard to upgrade when your initial tree looked like a dried sprig of rosemary.

Even growing up, when we usually had real trees, they were always sparse, and gangly, and wonky, and somewhat peculiar. As I later discovered this was because my parents couldn’t justify the expense of a farmed tree – apparently Dad used to simply head into the bush and lop the nearest dangling branch.

Of course, we didn’t really care, and it doesn’t really matter, and it’s not hard to make the most of what you’ve got, though for aesthetes like me (and probably you!) isn’t there just something lovely and comforting and desirable about a really beautiful Christmas tree?

So, this year when I was invited to review a tree from Balsam Hill, it seemed like the right time.

I received the Fraser Fir (Candlelight LED).

Rustic Natural Christmas Tree Decorated on a Budget

Although it’s available in a range of sizes, the somewhat petite scale of the 137cm/5′ tree seemed just right for our little home.

Earthy Neutral Christmas Tree

Now, I’m not gonna lie, these trees are an investment. However, from the moment it arrived the expense seemed warranted.

Something about this tree just felt special; I mean, you know it’s special when it comes with its very own pair of gloves, right?

Balsam Hill Pack Flatlay

The foliage is very realistic and with some shaping (as all faux trees require) a lovely natural form can be achieved.

One of my favourite things is the integrated light system. Yes people, ‘integrated light system’! No more weaving of tangled and unruly string lights!

Balsam Hill Fraser Fir by The Painted Hive

Since the kids have been old enough to care about Christmas, I’ve let them decorate our tree (mind you, this usually involves the hanging of three baubles before they get bored!).

So, this year, for the first time, we’re having two trees.

This one is mine!

Rustic Natural Christmas Tree

And apparently Coopers :)

I wanted a natural, neutral, home-spun scheme (surprise, surprise) with a tiny hint of red.

I used just four elements…plywood houses, hand-made clay stars, little pinecones and a wooden bead garland.

Natural Rustic Christmas Tree Decorations

The plywood houses were just $2 each from Kmart. Originally, the wood was raw and quite blonde, which is fine though just a tad stark for the look I was going for, so I lightly stained them to give them some depth and warmth.

House Christmas Tree Decorations

Making the clay stars was fun.

DIY Clay Star Ornaments

I don’t do a heap of crafts though when I saw the price of shop bought clay ornaments I figured it was worth a try. And it was such a rewarding and simple project – and perfect for the kids to help with. Some of the stars are blank though many are personalised with our own words (I have a full tutorial here!).

The pinecones were free of course and add just the right hint of earthiness.

I was going to make my own wooden bead garland though I happened to stumble across this one in a local dollar-type store for cheaper than it would have cost me!

Natural Neutral Christmas Tree Decorations

Again, the wood was originally raw so I very lightly stained it to knock-back the coolness.

To conceal the stand and add some extra festive cheer, I packed the base with a variety of wrapped “gifts”. In keeping with the neutral scheme I used browns, blacks and creams with a dash of red.

Christmas Tree Gifts

These “gifts” are mainly just appropriately shaped and sized items from around our house. It was so sweet to see how excited the kids were once they spied them, even though they are mainly just empty cereal boxes and books off our shelves.

Christmas Tree with Natural Decor

We don’t usually have our tree in the living room, mainly because there’s zero space, though given this is a petite tree (and the fact I wanted to take some pretty photos!) I rearranged some of the furniture to make it work.

Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Christmas Tree

I hope you like it.

Signature

This post is in partnership with Balsam Hill.
All ideas, imagery and opinions are my own.

Rustic Natural Christmas Tree

 

 

A “New” Vintage Desk & Swivel Chair

So, I know it’s basically December and publishing a post without any hint of pine needles or flocked snow is seemingly akin to impudence, though let’s be rebels!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been chipping away at Riley’s bedroom re-do, with the most recently completed project being his new desk.

Boy's Room Vintage Desk and Chair

A month or so back I found this old hall table at a local antique warehouse for $120.

Vintage Child's Desk

It was perfect though, being standard table height, just a tad too tall (sorry, I don’t have a before pic). You see, along with operating as a functional desk for a four year old, I also needed this item to act as his bedside table.

Fortunately, curtailing fully grown furniture is in my repertoire! In the past I’ve already shortened a hall table to become a desk (for my daughter), a console table to become a TV cabinet, a dining table to become a coffee table, a dresser to become a bench seat, and I could probably go on!

Child's Vintage Desk and Chair

Anyhoo, it’s a very easy process as I’m sure you can imagine. I simply used a basic hand saw to trim off an equal portion of each leg (around 18cm/7″).

Because my desk legs were turned (as can be seen in the photos – notice the two pairs of bands, well, there used to be three pairs), I chose to use the lowest turnings as my trim point due to the fact they were set at around the right height. This made my cutting easy and created a nice flange on the end of the “new” feet. However, because the turnings were only set at around the right height, it also meant that the desk ended-up a little shorter than ideal.

Luckily, this was actually a blessing in disguise as it gave me the idea of adding these castor wheels from Early Settler. They boost the height a tad and complete the desk perfectly!

Brass Castor Wheels for a Desk

I love furniture with little wheels! Don’t you?

On the same day I bought the desk I also picked-up this sweet vintage swivel chair.

Yellow Vintage Child's Desk Chair

I found it on eBay for just $19 and I LOVE it.

It’s got the perfect amount of grunge, is a bit unusual and is even height adjustable.

Vintage Yellow Child's Desk Chair

Initially I thought I was going to have to paint the desk because the yellow of the chair seemed to clash with its golden wood. Though the colour combo is growing on me. I guess I’ll reserve judgement until the whole room is pieced together.

Speaking of the whole room, if you’ve been following along with the makeover, then you’ll know that these pics have clearly been taken elsewhere. I’ve staged my living room for this shoot because in Riley’s bedroom the desk sits right in front of a full length window which makes it almost impossible to get a decent photo.

It also meant I could use the HUGE vintage wall chart that was going to be thrown away from the school my husband works at! Seriously, what were they thinking? I honestly have nightmares about all the cool stuff schools must have thrown away over the years.

Boy's Room Vintage Desk and Chair

Although there won’t be space for the wall chart in Riley’s room, the new textured rug and tennis rackets will eventually live there. So too might the brass magnifying stand and ram’s skull. We’ll see.

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Catch up on all my posts about Riley’s bedroom makeover here.

Free Printable Large-Scale Vintage Christmas Signs!

I am sooooo excited to share these classic Christmas book title page printables with all of you!

Free Printable Christmas Signs

I’m the first to admit I’m not a huge holiday decorator, I think my blog’s scarcity of Christmas-themed posts can testify to that, though this year I wanted to create something we could all enjoy. And when I was designing these printable signs, I felt a sense of all-consuming enthusiasm I haven’t tasted in a long, long time.

Not that I’ve been wallowing in a puddle of a self-imposed misery lately. Just because over the past few (okay, several) months, I’ve been in a bit of a funk where little has seemed to come quite this freely…and easily…and joyously. It was honestly a pleasure to get my creative cogs a-whirring with this project and it felt so rewarding researching the origins of my chosen ‘works’ to give these signs a real sense of historical accuracy and authenticity.

16 Free Printable Vintage Style Christmas Signs!

In this bundle I am offering a total of 16 free printable large-scale book title page signs; four different classic Christmas tales each available in both Ivory and Cream and with either Black or Red artwork.

16 Amazing Free Printable Farmhouse Style Christmas Signs!

As always, each image has been fully optimised for print and, for your convenience, designed in 2:3 ratio (60cm/24″ x 90cm/36″) to fit standard frames.

CLICK A BUTTON ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD & VIEW

Due to the size of these files I am hosting them on Google Drive. You will be redirected there to complete the download process. 
Files are saved in zipped folders. Depending on your operating system they may need to be extracted prior to viewing. Due to their large size, some mobile devices may fail to load them.

Being large-scale, one of these signs alone makes a lovely statement though how amazing would they look hung as a collection? Imagine all four of them in a horizontal row on a long wall (someone needs to do this and send me pics, mkay)? Or in grid formation using slightly smaller frames.

Free Printable Farmhouse Style Christmas Signs

PRINTING

You can have these signs printed at any store which offers a good-quality, large-format printing service. Prices for a 60cm/24″ x 90cm/36″, full-colour print on poster paper generally range between $20 – $40. Black and white engineering prints on thin bond paper can be as inexpensive as $3. Colour engineering prints are also offered at some stores and usually start at around $10. If you’re unsure where to start looking, try Googling “print and copy services”. Otherwise, some stores include; Officeworks, Vista Print, Staples, Office Depot, Costco, Walmart. Along with having your image printed in-store, many companies also offer an online upload service. This can be handy if you live in a remote area or simply want the convenience of shopping from home. I have some basic instructions for ordering online from three different companies here.

FRAMING

For ease, I have designed these signs in 2:3 ratio to fit standard frames. You can find large 60cm/24″ x 90cm/36″ frames in lots of places with prices generally starting from around $15. If you’re unsure where to start looking, try Googling “poster frames”. Otherwise, visit dollar and discount stores, affordable department and homewares stores or Ikea. For a more authentic sign look, I recommend removing the glass/perspex from your frame and affixing the print directly to the backing board using spray adhesive. If you would prefer to DIY your own farmhouse style frame, you can find my basic tutorial here. Another easy DIY alternative is to create a hanging wall chart. This is a simple matter of attaching dowels to the top and base of the poster, similar to what I did here.

Free Printable Christmas Wall Chart Hangings

Another even simpler hanging method would be to use some pretty binder clips. These Kmart ones are cool.

Free Printable Christmas Wall Art Signs

And, you can even use ready-to-go poster hanging strips. These function like clamps (usually using magnets or screws) and require little to NO work. They can be found in lots of places nowadays. Check out Etsy or eBay or simply Google “poster hanging strips” or “poster hanging rails”.

Free Printable Wall Art Signs with Poster Strips

I really wanted to style some of my pics for this post with a live, traditional-style, tabletop tree…though I couldn’t find one at any of my local plant nurseries! So, instead I opted for an Aussie alternative. Below is a native Albany Woolly Bush – partnered with seasonal cherries, of course!

Free Printable Farmhouse Style Christmas Signs

I hope you love these signs!

And please feel free to email me pics or tag me in any social shares if you use them in your decorating – I’d really love to see.

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Free for personal, non-commercial use only.
Reproduction, republication or redistribution in any form is forbidden.