One Lifetime Sign

I mentioned last week that I had a few components of the bathroom my husband built for the wedding that I wanted to share with you before I show the whole thing.  This sign is one of them. 

One Lifetime Sign - Crafty Staci 1

We had a blank wall at the back, so I decided to make a sign to fill the space.  I had a bunch of burlap-looking canvases I found at a sidewalk sale that were the perfect size.

One Lifetime Sign - Crafty Staci 2

I read that in order to make vinyl letters stick to these, you should give them a few coats of Mod Podge.  Nope, nope, nope.  It left me with a rough surface that the vinyl hopped off of like it was on fire.  On to plan B. 

I taped off lines using blue painter’s tape and painted between them.  I was afraid the paint wouldn’t stick either, but I had no problem with it. 

My husband cut a piece of wood for me, and I got to try out my new toy – a wood burning tool.  That thing is so much fun.  I made a few signs for the wedding with it, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to use it again ever since.  To make this one, I just printed the phrase out on the computer, traced it onto the wood using carbon paper, and burned the letters.  Bonus points if you know where this quote is from!

One Lifetime Sign - Crafty Staci 3

I hot glued the wood onto the canvas.  My daughter suggested the upholstery tacks in the corners, which I thought added a nice detail.  The flower was one I had made while I was experimenting with a pattern, and I’m glad it found a home.  This sign was perfect for its spot, and it’s even better in the newlyweds’ home.

One Lifetime Sign - Crafty Staci 4

Join me next Wednesday, and I’ll show you how I made that puffy flower, along with a couple of variations!

Friday Favorites–Curb Appeal

Since we’re throwing a wedding at our home in a couple of weeks(!), we’ve been busy spiffing things up.  My husband just replaced all of our dark, 70’s doors with new pine complete with trim.  We’ve actually watered our yard and plants regularly and my son has been busy weeding and spreading bark dust.  It kinda makes me wish we had a wedding here every couple of years or so.  Don’t tell my husband I said that.  But our house and yard have never looked better.

Curb Appeal - Crafty Staci's Friday Favorites

I actually have wood ceilings on the front porch and back deck of my house, similar to this Peekaboo Pallet Ceiling from Cape Twenty Seven.  It was one of the first things I loved about the house.

Pallet Ceiling by Cape 27

There are so many words you could use on this Welcome Mat from A Beautiful Mess

Welcome Mat by A Beautiful Mess

There’s just something about giant letters.  I love this Welcome Sign from The Wood Grain Cottage.

Front Porch Welcome Sign by The Wood Grain Cottage

This is a brilliant but simple idea to camouflage the electric box from Love of Family and Home.

Camouflaging the Electrical Box by Love of Family and Home

There are bricks on the front of my house, but somewhere along the way someone decided it would be a good idea to paint them.  I don’t know why, and I wish I could go back and stop them, but it isn’t coming off now.  I thought about painting them, but I wasn’t sure it would work.  After seeing this Faux Brick Walkway from The Painted Home I might reconsider.

Faux Brick Walkway by Painted Home Designs

Shutters are a nice touch to brighten up a house.  Find out how to make your own from The Scrap Shoppe.

DIY Shutters by The Scrap Shoppe

If my garden hose is not immediately visible and accessible at all times, my flowers would never see a drop of water.  This DIY Garden Hose Holder from Love Grows Wild is a pretty way to display it. 

DIY Garden Hose Holder by Love Grows Wild

This garage door update from Garr Den of Love just goes to show the huge difference a little bit of hardware can make.

Garage Door Makeover by Garr Den of Love

Mail theft has been an issue where we live, so we have a big, not very attractive, locking mailbox.  I’d love to have a cute little number like this one from Beneath my Heart.

Mailbox Makeover by Beneath My Heart

I love everything about this Tree Bench from This Old House.

Tree Bench by This Old House

Since you can barely get a cart through Home Depot these days, I know we aren’t the only ones knee-deep in home improvement.  Whatcha been working on?

The Best Time to Celebrate Printable

Last month I showed you a recipe box I had painted and embellished with my new vinyl cutter.  I don’t know if you noticed the color, but it was a turquoise leaning toward green. 

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  13

It wasn’t a shade I had in my paint arsenal, but one I mixed myself.  I combine paint often to get the color I want, but the problem is that there is always too much of it by the time I’m done.  I don’t want to run out because it’s impossible to replicate exactly, and as I add more paint to get the color I want I end up with a lot.  I hate to waste it, so I usually go find something else to slap it on.  That’s how this frame happened.

The Best Time to Celebrate Printable - Crafty Staci 1

I started out with this.  Pretty uninspiring and a little beat up, but I kept it because it was wood and I liked the shape.

The Best Time to Celebrate Printable - Crafty Staci 2

After a couple of coats of paint and a vinyl cut design, I coated it with Mod Podge.  All it needed was something to go inside, so I made this printable.  I love the look of chalkboard, but really hate the chalk dust, so this was perfect.  If you click on the picture below the PDF should open.

The Best Time to Celebrate Printable - Crafty Staci 3

I’m so glad I hung onto this little frame, and it matches my new recipe box.  It also matches this tray that I had previously painted with chalkboard paint.  And something else before that.  There may even be another layer – I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve repainted this poor thing.

Ampersand Tray - Crafty Staci

I didn’t manage to use up all the paint, but decided to quit while I was ahead.  I have three projects I love, and that’s something to celebrate.

The Best Time to Celebrate Printable - Crafty Staci 4

Clear Shelf Liner to Transfer Vinyl

Since January has been a sprint for me, I haven’t even had a chance to tell you about my amazing Christmas present.  It doesn’t even have a home in my craft room yet, but you better believe I’ve already taken it for a spin or two.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci 1

My husband has watched me struggle with projects that would have been much easier with a vinyl cutter, so he’s had an eagle eye on the price of these for a while.  When they dipped under $200 on Black Friday weekend, he actually came in and woke me up to see if I wanted to order one.  The next morning I had to ask if that actually happened or I dreamt it.  It happened.  Not to mention, there were all kinds of fun accessories in my Christmas stocking, including a fabric blade. 

The software and cutting process was pretty easy to figure out, but I was a little stumped on how to transfer the design onto my project.  Thanks to the internet, I found a great idea.  Many people commented on how the name brand transfer paper didn’t work all that well, but they’d had good luck with ordinary clear shelf liner. 

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  2

When I say ordinary, I mean cheapo. 

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  3

Clearly, I am no expert in this process, but I can tell you what worked for me.  I cut the shelf liner to fit my design.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  4

I peeled the backing off the liner and stuck it to the front of the vinyl.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  5

I used a popsicle stick to rub the liner onto the vinyl so I knew it was sticking well.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  6

I peeled the backing paper off the design on positioned it on my recipe box.  I stuck it down lightly.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  7

The design got another good popsicle stick rub, only on the vinyl.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  8

The next step was to peel back the liner.  I was concerned it would peel some of the fresh paint off the box, but that wasn’t an issue. 

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  9

The only problem I did have was when I stopped peeling, it left residue.  As long as I pulled the liner off evenly and in one motion everything was fine.  Here you can see the two spots where I stopped.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  10

Fortunately, I was covering the box with glossy Mod Podge, so you can no longer see those lines.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  11

Using the same technique, I was even able to salvage the cut-outs of the knife, fork and spoon for the inside of the lid.

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  12

The design on the top was one I purchased already cut (before I had the Silhouette) and the only difference I found was that it didn’t curl like the ones I cut myself.  “Try everything once” was our food rule for the kids growing up, so my daughter thought this was funny.  That rule caused my husband and I to taste a few things we would have rather not, but it caused my kids to be more adventurous eaters.  The sacrifices we make for our children…

Clear Vinyl Shelf Liner to Tranfer Vinyl - Crafty Staci  13

As you might imagine, we have a very long list of wedding projects that will benefit from this baby.  And now that I know how to transfer the design, they’ll be a piece of cake! Smile

Sponsored Video: Home Mini-Fixes

This article is brought to you by Lowe’s.  All opinions shared are my own.

I live in a house where we fix things.  My husband is a Joel-of-all-trades, so most of the time we’re able to get by without calling a repairman, even for the big stuff.  But it’s the little stuff I want to talk about today.  Sometimes those mini-fixes or smart ideas can mean solving a problem quickly and economically, rather than wasting time or having to replace an item.  Or banging your head against a wall.   And having to repair the wall.

Lowe’s asked me if I would write an article about a video they sent me that relates to what I’m talking about.  I’ll be honest, I watched the video and my first response was “Huh?”  The idea is very smart,  but I wasn’t sure what more I could say about it.  Check it out:


That could definitely come in handy, right?  But I needed to know more, so I turned to Pinterest.  That’s right, Lowe’s pins, and they do it well.  Turns out, they have an entire board dedicated to what they call “Fix in Six.”  They are each a small home repair or idea.  I’m all about quick and easy, and I already have a few favorites.

My husband just painted our house, and is still working on finishing the trim.  I’ll have to see if he’s aware of the rubber band across the paint can trick.  Pennies as spacers for laying tile?  Brilliant!  I’m embarrassed to tell you how badly I need to try the cookie sheet cleaning recipe.  But my personal favorite is holding the nail with a clothes pin, because I’m a finger-crusher with a hammer.

One of the things I love about blogs and social media is the fact that it’s so easy to share great ideas for little ways to improve your house, sometimes at little or no cost.  My thanks to Lowe’s for pointing out a few new ones for me!

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center

I mentioned the kitchenware Reuse Design Challenge at Earth911 a a while back.  Well, I won!  My thanks to everyone who voted.  This was the challenge:

Upcycle used/old/worn out cookware (pots, pans, utensils…etc) into something completely different, but useful. We are looking for creative AND practical reuse designs, not simply decorative.

Sounds pretty easy, right? Except all I could think of were projects that were decorative. My sketch sheet is almost hilarious. Draw something, realize it’s only purpose is to look pretty, cross it out.

Luckily, my need for a good project and an actual need collided. My husband and I have started exercising regularly and trying to eat healthier. I find we eat better food if I plan it out in advance, so I wanted a menu board for my kitchen. I saw lots of kitchen command centers out there, but I have lots of windows and very little wall and they were all too big.  This little cookie sheet fits the spot perfectly.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

To make one of these handy boards, you’ll need a cookie sheet, an empty mint container, a flat-sided pen cup (or a small box), clothespins, a shopping list pad, chalkboard paint, acrylic paint, a silver Sharpie, flat magnets or a magnetic sheet, ribbon or cord to hang it, and, of course, chalk to write on it with. 

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

This is probably the cheapest cookie sheet known to man, but in this case that’s an advantage.  I felt like I could safely hang it on the wall without having to worry about it.  Rough your pan up with some sandpaper to help the paint stick.  I did this on the back, because that’s the side I chose to use.  Do the same with your mint tin and pencil cup, if it’s metal.  Clean everything well.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

My cookie sheet didn’t have any holes in the ends, so I used a screwdriver, a hammer and a piece of wood to add a couple.  It wasn’t difficult on this thin metal.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Spray all three pieces with two or three coats of chalkboard paint.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

After the paint has dried completely, use a pencil to draw a menu block.  Trace the pencil lines with a silver Sharpie.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Add the days of the week, if you’d like them to be permanent. 

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

I printed my own shopping list (which you can download here) and secured them together with a piece of cardboard on the back using padding compound.  I cut a magnetic calendar down to fit the back (don’t tell my insurance agent!) but any flat, sheet-style magnetic will work.  Glue that to the cardboard.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

Paint the clothespins with the acrylic paint and glue magnets to the back.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

I also added a few details to the mint tin and pencil cup using the Sharpie and paint.  Glue magnets to the side of the pencil cup and the bottom of the mint tin.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

String the ribbon through the holes in the cookie sheet and tie for hanging.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci

The day I finished this, I just made up a menu for the photos.  My son walked in while it was hanging and excitedly asked “Are we having Pad Thai for dinner?" which is his favorite.  Since I didn’t even have the ingredients into the house, that wasn’t happening, and he sadly left the kitchen.  I probably owe someone some Pad Thai.

Cookie Sheet Kitchen Command Center - Crafty Staci 12

Now that I have this little thing, I don’t know what I did without it.  I always know where my shopping list and pens are, and my son could stop coming home and asking me what’s for dinner every night.  That’s if I can ever get him to trust it again.

Glass Block Bookends

They say it’s not about the destination, it’s the journey that matters.  Or something like that.  For me, when it comes to crafting, I think it’s mostly about the destination.  I usually enjoy the process, but there better be a prize at the bottom of that cereal box.  There almost wasn’t this time.

Glass Block Bookends 1

Since it’s about the journey, I’ll fill you in on how this disaster turned into a win.  As part of my living room makeover my husband built new shelves on both sides of our fireplace, along with a massive mantle.  That’s a lot of places to put stuff.  I, however, am not good at figuring out what stuff to put where.  For that reason, I’ve been very slow to fill those shelves.

The one thing I knew for sure I wanted was some books.  Pretty books.  My daughter had recently discovered a leather bound classics series, so I started collecting them.  As you can see from the photo, I’m still working on that, with ordinary hard covers with the jackets removed standing in for now. 

Speaking of standing, even big books fall over, so I set out to make myself some book ends.  I’ve used glass blocks before, like on my Glass Block To-Do List, and I happened to find some that were the perfect size.  I planned to use glass etching cream to add some sort of design.  So I bought this.

Glass Block Bookends 2

Just so you know, despite the fact that it says “Etch windows, glass, mirrors and styrene” on the side, this is NOT glass etching cream.  If you look very closely, it says “etched glass look.”  It’s paint.  Poor packaging and almost no instructions, so I took it back and sought out a different brand that is actually etching cream.  I’m almost over it.

After some brain storming, my son and I came up with the phrases you see on the blocks in the photo.  I printed them out on paper, taped that to some old Contact paper, and spent a couple of hours painstakingly cutting them out with an Exacto knife.

Glass Block Bookends 3

I carefully centered each one onto a block, after keeping track of the center of letters like a and o.  If you’re interested in using these words for a project, you can download the PDF here.

Glass Block Bookends 4

I applied the etching cream according to the instructions and left it on for 60 seconds.

Glass Block Bookends 5

I rinsed it off, removing the stencils as I did.  I set them aside to let them dry and this is what I came back to.

Glass Block Bookends 6

Yes, they are almost blank.  After some foot stomping, I grabbed the etching cream and brushed it on freehand, since my stencils were toast.  I left that on overnight, which turned out like this.

Glass Block Bookends 7

I think the problem is that the etching cream bottle says it doesn’t work on Pyrex (although I’ve seen many comments online to the contrary) and these are probably similar.  Now what?  Put them in the sewing room and ignore them for a couple of weeks, that’s what. 

My next genius idea was to buy a couple of sheets of vinyl and cut out the words with the Exacto knife.  I came to my senses before I even attempted that one.

I moved on to glass paint.  What harm could I do at this point?  I bought a paint pen and followed the outline created by the etching.  They aren’t perfect, but unless you get up close, which isn’t going to happen often, you can’t really tell.

Glass Bookends 8

These blocks have a plug, which can be removed so you can fill them with something.  I thought of several options, but finally settled on The Black Marbles.  When my husband and I were first married, we bought some clear table lamps.  We thought they’d look great filled with black marbles, so over the course of a few months, we gathered about 40 pounds of them.  We always said if someone broke into the house we were going to throw the lamps at them because those things weighed a TON.  The lamps are long gone, but the marbles made a great black backdrop for the white writing on my bookends and the added weight is actually a plus here.

Glass Bookends 9

I think I appreciate this project just a little more because the road to get here was long and full of bumps.

Glass Bookends 10

Maybe that means it really is about the journey…even in crafting.

Glass Block Bookends 11

DIY Chalkboard Paint Pin Test

If you’re visiting my little corner of blogland for the first time, you can find out everything you need to know about me and more here.  It’s pretty riveting stuff.

You had to know, with the popularity of Pinterest, there would soon follow blogs spoofing, analyzing and testing pins.  My favorite right now is Pinstrosity.  There are definitely more bad results than good, but they actually take the time to figure out why it might have failed.  They are currently holding a contest to try out pins from their “To Test” board and write about it.  I happened to find out about this while I was completely alone in the house, always dangerous, so I found a pin and joined the fray.


I went with the How to Mix Chalkboard Paint in any Color from A Beautiful Mess.  I looked at several others, but I had a few rules for myself.  1.  I was NOT going to the store.  Whatever I made, the supplies had to be in my house already.  2.  There had to be actual directions to follow.  There were a couple of interesting projects, but they were more inspiration than instruction.  3.  It had to be something I might actually use in the end.

Chalkboard paint 00

Now, you might look at the supply list for the paint and think “Unsanded grout, already in your house?  Really?”  Yep.  My husband is a fixer, and the box was sitting right there on a shelf in our garage.  It was meant to be.

Chalkboard paint 1

Brown might not have been my first choice for paint color, but the instructions called for 1/2 cup of paint and my options were pretty limited.  I mixed in a little yellow to lighten it up, but it still looks like brownie batter.  Not bad, but it kinda made my hungry.

chalkboard paint 2

It doesn’t say how many coats of the paint to apply in the directions, but I used three.  I had a LOT of paint, so I figured I’d go heavy.  One was definitely not enough, as I could still see through it, but I probably could have stopped at two.  I had quite a bit of paint left, so this would be enough to paint a pretty large project.

chalkboard paint 3

My biggest issue with this was that there were still lumps of grout in the paint that I didn’t see, even after much stirring.  I’d recommend using a shorter, wider container than I did so it’s easier to tell when all the lumps have disappeared.  There are a few bumps on the project because of it, but overall nothing really that noticeable.

I nearly turned this into a disaster before I was finished. As I’m painting I thought “Hmm, I wonder if I should add a clear coat to protect it at the end.” To my chalkboard paint. Yeah. Follow. The. Directions.

The best part is that I finished painting the tray and realized we had no chalk in the house.  Beautiful.

Technically, I still didn’t leave the house to get supplies.  I got my oldest child to do it for me.  Chalk in hand, I proceeded to slate the surface, as the directions stated, by rubbing the entire thing lightly with chalk.  That’s when I remembered why I probably got rid of every bit of chalk we had – it’s messy.

chalkboard paint 4

It then says to rub lightly to remove the chalk.  This is after rubbing vigorously with a paper towel.

chalkboard paint 5

Do you ever watch Mythbusters?  I feel like this is one of those where they end their myth test with “Plausible.”  The potential for a good project is there, I just don’t feel like I nailed it.  Next time I would choose a lighter paint color and confine the chalkboard to the inside bottom of the tray.  However, the whole point is to be able to make your own chalkboard paint and to that I can say “Confirmed.”

chalkboard paint 6

Thanks to Pinstrosity for letting me spend a little time on their playground!

chalkboard paint 8

Map Memory Box

I’ve mentioned this before, and you will hear about it again because it’s the BIG THING in our house right now:  our only daughter (and oldest child) is leaving home in September to go away to college.  Fortunately for us, “away” is only a couple of hours from here, but the thought of not hearing her bounce through the house every day is still heavy. 

Before I break down (again), I want to show you what I made for her as a graduation gift.  It’s a box to keep in her dorm room where she can put a few things that remind her of home.  I told her she would probably pull it out a few times in the beginning, but by the end of the year she’d find it covered in dust under her bed. 

map box 1

I found the box at my local craft store.  It was a very un-dorm-friendly white, so I painted it yellow, her favorite color.

map box 2

I had a couple of Oregon maps I carried in my car until a couple of years ago.  My husband got worried enough about my complete lack of directional sense that he bought me a car with GPS.  Anyway, I didn’t want to cover the entire box, just frame a piece of the map on top, so I cut a template from a piece of white paper to use to cut the map.

map box 3

I spread a little Mod Podge under the map to attach it to the box, added two little pink hearts to mark where home and school are, then gave it a couple of good coats to the entire outside.

map box 4

The handle was paper-covered also, so I cut a bit of the map and Mod Podged it as well.

map box 5

With the outside done, I moved on to the inside.  It was a little more slick than the outside, so I opted to leave it unpainted.  I did want something fun inside the lid though, so a printed out a little advice for her.  Rather attaching it with regular glue, I used this baby.  If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it.  It spreads glue dots, holds permanently, and no drying time.

map box 6

I attached some printed scrapbook paper first, added the words I printed, then covered the edge with ribbon, glued on the same way. 

map box 7

Filling the box was pretty easy.  By the time her dad, brother and I were through, it was tough to close.  Some of the goodies inside include her favorite candies, Goldfish crackers, a travel tea mug, hand sanitizer, her first pieces of Fiestaware, a couple of Hot Wheels cars from her brother’s private collection and a screwdriver, courtesy of her dad.

map box 8

My favorite thing is the pink hearts on top, showing where she’s from and where she’s going.

map box 9

An old luggage lock just happened to be a perfect fit.

map box 10

Buried somewhere in that box is a package of kleenex. I have a feeling those will be mine.