Make Beautiful Things


chalkboard diy

Make beautiful things.

It’s what I try to do everyday. Not a bad job description.

I especially like making beautiful things out of not-so-beautiful things.

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That’s how this “chalkboard” started out. I found this Dega-ish painting at a thrift store. (Love it when I can nab a framed canvas for less than five dollars!) I sure hope the original artist of this painting is not reading. Sorry Mr. or Mrs. Ford! I paint over my old paintings all the time! Don’t feel bad!

Here’s how the transformation took place.

I like to make these projects as effortless as possible. Why take the whole thing apart? I just left the frame on and painted the canvas with black gesso. Why black gesso? Because I was out of the black acrylic craft paint I had planned to use. Roll with it, baby. I actually think the gesso ended up the better choice because it is naturally flat and chalky.

Lettering is next! I recommend working from an image on Pinterest that has a phrase or style that you like. Use a white charcoal pencil or white chalk to try a few layouts, drawing out the words right onto the black canvas. The charcoal pencil or chalk wipes off with a damp cloth so no worries. Just keep trying until you like it.

I then freehand painted the letters. I know, I know, you think you can’t do that. I think you can. Try it. If you can write in cursive, you can do this. Study some good examples and look at where they make the lines thicker and thinner. That’s the secret!  It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful! I used white acrylic paint with a narrow round brush, but a white paint pen will do the trick too!

To finish it off and make it look more authenticly chalkboard-ish, I rubbed white chalk in the gaps between the words. It’s very convincing!

Now I have a daily reminder to do my work.

Make beautiful things…the laundry can wait.



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A Cozy Scarf Wreath Tutorial

I see potential in things. Things that probably should be left on the shelf at Goodwill have a way of making their way into my shopping cart, then my car, and then my overstuffed basement storage. I’ve developed a little more self control over the years, but there is still a closet full of “potential” in my basement. I like to be prepared when the urge to hot glue something strikes. What? Don’t you ever get the urge to fire up the glue gun?

 I had this chunky old scarf from Goodwill that was just too long and bulky to hang around my neck. I kept it anyway because I loved the color and texture and it looked to be handmade. I just knew it had potential to be…something else! Hum…how about a cute and cozy winter wreath?

This is what you need to get started on your own wreath: a 14″ straw wreath,  push pins, and a very long scarf.

cozy wreath tutorialBegin by securing one end of the scarf to the wreath at a slight angle using push pins. As you can see, I did not even bother to take off the plastic wrapper. Wrap the scarf around and around. Hopefully your scarf is long enough to wrap around the whole wreath! If not, you need a longer scarf or a smaller wreath. The end of the scarf is secured on the back side with pushpins.

The options are endless as to how to accessorize your wreath. I used leftover felt, burlap, and cotton fabric to make rolled flowers. I’m not going to go into flower making details, but hopefully these pictures will help you visualize how I like to make them. You Tube has rolled fabric flower tutorials if you want more detailed instruction.

Now that you’ve got your flowers made, have fun pinning them on with push pins. Just stick the pins between the folds of fabric and they’ll hide away from sight. I started out with three large flowers, but after I hung it on my mantle, it looked a little blah next to all the greenery. Why yes, that is my arm photo bombing my own picture.

2013-12-14_0020Back to the stash closet for a green wool sweater. You could use felt for the same effect. Cut out a few leaves of varying sizes. Again, secure with pushpins.

There, that’s better.

2013-12-14_0022Christmas is long gone, but the scarf wreath still hangs above my fireplace looking all cozy and cute. I’m thinking maybe I should tuck in some hearts for Valentine’s Day and let her hang around a little while longer.

You want one too, don’t you? Well then, fire up that glue gun, raid your closets, or hit the nearest Goodwill.

Re-purpose that old scarf and re-LOVE!!!



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