From So Simple That I Can Make It

Thoughts on Year Six and Tiny Turkey Art

I miss blogging.  More than that, I miss the “back in the old days” blogging when the email notifications about new comments on my latest post energized me and I could count on two hands the number of blogs I followed—and commented on—religiously.  Now that email notification in my inbox is most likely a spam comment and the number of blogs I can follow is endless.  Pair that with two kids under age four and a busier-than-ever job and, well, I’ve simply lost touch with current-day blogging.

I’ve been blogging since 2009—before business pages for Facebook, before smartphones, before Pinterest. (Gosh, I suddenly feel old.) So much has changed in blogging and I haven’t quite kept pace, which, for a competitive person like me, is hard to swallow. I’ve yet to reconcile the two bloggers in me.  On one hand, I want to blog like it’s 2009 with little regard for stats, pins or likes.  On the other hand, I want to be in the blogging game.  

While I’m still trying to figure out how blogging fits into my life today, I’ve decided the sixth annual Dare to DIY Challenge (sixth!) is the perfect reason to come out of hiding.  After all, it was Kim at NewlyWoodwards’s original Dare to DIY party in 2009 that drew me into the blogging community and created lasting friendships.  I’ve managed to participate in each of the first five years and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year.

And that, my friends, would explain why I was making tiny paper turkeys this weekend.

How about that segue?

Chris wanted to know why I was “making Origami.”  I told him that small paper fans didn’t exactly qualify as Origami, but I was folding paper so he kind of wins.

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Counting down: Advent Calendar

An Advent calendar has been on my Christmas craft list for a few years now, but I’ve always been indecisive about how to make it.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve probably pinned at least a dozen different designs on Pinterest, but could never really commit.  This year I didn’t allow  myself to give it much thought.

Instead, I dove in with an Advent calendar that I thought could work for our family—one based on ornaments that we could put on a small accompanying tree.  Isn’t it pretty?

The idea certainly isn’t original.  Pottery Barn sold something similar a few years ago and several people have knocked off the design since (Katie Bower’s is one of my favorites).  But I was willing to forego originality for the sake of getting a project done.  You’ve been there, right?

Similarly, my approach to making this project certainly wasn’t original.  But it was easy.  Bonus points for that.  Here’s what it entailed:

  • Buying a bulletin board for about $6 and wrapping it with a piece of canvas drop cloth (left over from my table mat in this post).  You could also use any other fabric of choice.  My bulletin board was about 18″x24″.  I used clear packing tape to secure the fabric in the back…I just wrapped it like a present and secured the edges!

  • Measuring out the number tag spacing (this was, by far, the hardest part…it required math and graph paper).  My paper tags were 2×3″.

Good news…if you mess up (like I did) chances are your mistakes can be hidden behind one of the number tags!

  • Writing the numbers on the tags (I chose to use a metallic paint pen).  Oh, and P.S., the cute wooden push-pins were left over from this gift I made for my mom last year.

  • Hanging the board.  I just attached a string to the back using some more clear packing tape.  It’s not perfect, but it holds!  And it’s not permanent.

  • And decorating it! (I used ornaments we already had, so this part was like shopping within my own Christmas collection.)

I decided to hang our Advent calendar on the pantry door, just around the corner from a small table with our mini Advent tree (I bought the tree a couple of years ago on a post-Christmas super sale).

I finished this in about an hour on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and its been hanging in our kitchen ever since.  Ike was thrilled with the new addition (lately, every time he wakes up from a nap there is a new Christmas sight to see in our house) and has been carefully practicing the word “ormanent.”

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you know that we added our first ornament on Saturday (December 1) and we look forward to doing the same each night until Christmas.  Ike is definitely too young to understand the concept, but he likes the responsibility of hanging the ornament on the tree.  Each night he asks if he can do “more ormanents.”

I’m particularly excited to add this new tradition to our mix and look forward to continuing it each year.  How about you?  Do you use an Advent calendar?  Have you made one?  What other traditions are you starting?

Linking up to…



DIY Easter Basket

I’m predicting that it will be less than four years before our son begins to demand Red Sox themed everything, perhaps even an Easter basket, so I’m taking matters into my hands while I still can.

This is our first major holiday with the little guy, and even though he won’t be eating any chocolate or searching for any eggs, I decided that baby’s first Easter basket was in order.  And you know that I DIYed it.

I decided to go for a more natural looking basket and trimmed it up with some fun, boyish and spring-ish ribbon.  Plus I found some wooden letters and a wooden frame that I used to personalize the basket.

Here is what I started with…

A basket, three spools of ribbon, acrylic paint in two colors, wooden letters and the wooden frame.  I spent about $15 total.  Yes, this is more than an Easter basket would cost if I just picked one off the shelf, but what fun would that be!?

I started off by painting the letters and the frame, which got a little messy.

I was too cheap to buy a little paint brush for this project, so I fussed around using my 1″ Purdy paint brush.  I recommend saving yourself some time and effort by springing for the craft-sized brush!

Then I wove some ribbon through the basket, and hot-glued some to the top edge…both inside and out.

Next I glued on the letters and the frame.  The photo is one of Ike at 4 weeks, which is the only print I had where his face was small enough to fit into the circle!

This was really simple to do and took less than an hour (if you don’t count my breaks to feed the baby, change the baby, play with the baby and soothe the crying-suppose-to-be-napping baby).  And I’m psyched that he’ll have a nice basket decorated by mom until he decides that it is way more fun to have some annoying commercialized basket.  Or maybe he’ll just always appreciate his mom’s craftiness.  Who knows!

Is the Easter Bunny coming to your house?

Take it to the hoop

{Pssst…find the full reveal of the finished nursery here!}

Decorating with fabric scraps and embroidery hoops is nothing new.  I know this because I’ve seen it done all across the interwebs in about a gazillion ways.  But I can’t help but love it when a good idea comes to life in my own home.  In this case, the hoops are adding a splash of color to the walls of our nursery-in-progress.

I was really proud of myself for finding a way to incorporate the yellow clock I found at Target.  Normally my clock creativity would be centering it on some wall and having it stand alone.  Now it fits right in among the hoops.

I was also proud of my random idea to add an elephant silhouette to one of the hoops.  This might be my first sort-of-original idea ever.  But does it count as an original idea if it is a play on an overdone idea?

Oh, and I decided to spray paint my hoops black.  I think this helps them stand out a bit more and look more like frames.

When I was explaining this project to Chris, he thought the best part was that these “dots” can someday come down and make way for NFL decorations.  How long shall I let him live in his dream world that his son will have a NFL-themed room?

Also, do you think I need one more small hoop in the lower left corner?  Now that I’m looking at these pictures, I feel like one more might be in order?  Your feedback is most appreciated.

Linked to:

How To: Tissue Paper Flowers

My creative side was calling out to me last Friday while I was enjoying some time off at home, so I thumbed through my copy of Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts for the gazillionth time looking for new inspiration.  With many birthdays, showers and weddings coming up, the directions for making tissue paper flowers struck me as the perfect, easy project to try.

I was all ready with my camera to photograph the step-by-step when I decided I should use the video setting.  That’s right, today I am bringing you my first video blog post!

So, if you want to learn how to make a tissue paper flower, just check out this video!  (And I promise, it’s more fun than my grimacing face suggests below.)

(You can watch the video here, or on Vimeo.)

Also, if you’re not so into the tissue paper look, you can always learn how to tie bows to use on your gifts.  We covered that back in February.

So, what do you think?  Is this project easy enough for you to take on?  With all of the fun printed tissue paper out there, you could really get creative with this concept.  Anyone who is expecting a gift from me this spring should beware…you’ll be getting a tissue paper flower whether you like it or not!

Linked this week to:


The Persimmon Perch: Made it Monday

Between Naps on the Porch: Metamorphosis Monday

Tuesday Tutorial with Hope Studios

Buttoned Up

I’ve read a lot of posts in blogland about covering buttons for upholstering projects.  All of those posts gave me the courage to try the project on my own, so I’m sharing my experience here with the hope that it will inspire others to take on this quick, easy task that leaves you feeling…well, all buttoned up with confidence.

As I mentioned earlier, I found the perfect silk fabric to fix up my Goodwill-find bench.  I decided to use the accent fabric to cover some buttons that will be attached to provide a tufted look.

I picked up a button-covering kit at my local fabric store and followed the easy directions.

First you cut out the fabric according to the size button you have. (Thin fabric works best; you might have trouble with flannels, tweeds, etc.)

Next, center the cut piece over the nifty button-maker thingy, and press the button top down and in.

Then, tuck in the edges and press the button bottom down and in, snapping it tight.

And a finished button you will have!

The whole process to make 6 buttons took less than 10 minutes and I was really impressed with the results.  Now I can’t wait to attach them through the bench cushion!

Have you ever covered your own buttons?  The button covering kit was very handy, but I think you could even pull buttons off of an old coat or blazer and cover them with some hot glue.  I suppose that it all depends on the look you are going for.