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Starry Night

December 23, 2014   //  Posted in: DIY, DIY Network Projects, Holiday-Related Projects   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment
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Outdoor star light DIY project.

It’s been a couple of months since I highlighted the projects that I’ve created for DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade. When you have time–today at work or tonight with a glass of wine–let yourself dive into that site and explore some of the cool projects the crew has dreamt up this season.

If you’re wondering which were mine, here’s a short recap:

Somewhere in between crafting our hearts out and creating our dream list of holiday cookie recipes, I built our first big, illuminated star as a project for DIY Network, and it’s been my favorite project of the whole season. It was easy enough to make, so you should definitely try it someday. Would adding 10 more to the yard be… a bit much? Or fabulous.

It was a big year for handmade ornaments too. Hattie’s first Christmas ornament (backdated to last year) ended up being my favorite new addition, and these snowflake gift tag ornaments were easy enough to make that I know you could still whip some up for last minute wrapping.

The Christmas holiday is pretty much the only one I enjoy decorating for, therefore it’s a good opportunity to get creative and make new pieces that can be reused year-after-year. The paint stirrer trees that I made definitely fit into this category – look good, easy to make, classic and subtly holiday-esque. I decided around the same time that I should learn the art needle felting and made a new tree skirt, which as much as I expected to be a tree needle magnet, cleans surprisingly easily and continues to look awesome in our home.

As for other crafters you should check out, the letterpress ornaments made by Laurie March are fun, sparkly and easy. Ellen’s tin tree star and Christmas tree garland two more you’ll want to check out.

Merry holiday week, friends!

Merry Mari And Other Stuff

December 18, 2014   //  Posted in: DIY, Holiday-Related Projects   //  By: Emily   //  one response
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The holiday season is completely different now that I have children – it’s a kid-craft explosion up in here. There’s no going wrong with handmade goodness during Christmas, and I can get really into it, which is how I went from having 1 box of holiday decor joy to about 5. I just wish I could bring myself to do it for other holidays, like the hey-your-milk-is-green-and-that’s-all-I-got St. Patrick’s Day, and the totally ignored Fourth of July.

Kids like sparkles, art projects, that damn elf (1), and opening mail. We’re making the most of all of it. We trimmed what seemed like 200 snowflakes from coffee filters just for fun. They’re in our windows (2) and hung from the ceiling around the tree (3). I struggled last year trying to figure out how to display our handmade stockings without a formal mantel, but this year, I figured out an extremely, er, creative way of installing them over the fireplace using wire (4), which seems to be working fine so far. Someday we’ll actually install a mantel and this won’t be so make-it-work.

Holiday decorating at home.

I realized how much of a sucker I am for awesome fabric after buying a yard of Marimekko’s Kuusikossa Cotton fabric when it was seriously discounted the weekend after Tom Hanks Giving (as it shall be known here forth, thx Big Bang). I set out to hang the cotton fabric as though it were a tapestry, and bought two 8′ half-round lengths of wooden trim at the hardware store, and some no-sew tape.

Marimekko_tapestry_no-sew

I like a good sewing adventure as much as the next crafty person, but if there’s a time to use a no-sew iron-on adhesion product, it’s when you’re trying to create an even, hole-free, pucker-free edge. These edges are sharp.

Marimekko Tapestry - making a clean edge with no sew tape.

I figured I’d find a good way to connect the two half-round pieces of trim with super strong magnets or velcro or something more re-usable, but in the end, using the air compressor and a pin nailer with 5/8″ 23 gauge nails in it was just the ticket. I reckon I can pry them apart pretty easily if I want to change it out or wash the fabric or something.

Assemble a wall hanging tapestry with wooden details.

I lined up the fabric between the half circles so that when I shot through, the nail was connecting to both the underlying trim as well as sandwiching the material. I added this wooden trim to both the top and bottom of the fabric to create the wall tapestry, the bottom pieces serving as a weight to keep the fabric hanging straight and even.

Assemble a wall hanging tapestry with wooden details.

I put a few extra nails in the ends of the trim too so they appeared to be more like a solid dowel, which helped because when I went to thread a piece of embroidery thread between the boards and around the “dowel” to hang this thing, the thread caught at the outermost nail, and stopped there. It didn’t pull inwards and scrunch the fabric. This is obviously a very technical post.

How to make and hang a DIY wall tapestry using fabric and moulding.

Initially, it was, uh, a little bit bigger than I was expecting. It’s probably hard to tell the scale in the photo, but it’s big, and the nail up there is higher than my head. It has grown on me quickly though, and I’ll look forward to using this in our home for years to come. Marimekko forever! (Aren’t those trees perfect?)

How to make a wooden frame for a DIY wall tapestry. Mine features modern Marimekko fabric.

Holiday Switch

December 10, 2014   //  Posted in: DIY, Holiday-Related Projects, Supporting Sponsors   //  By: Emily   //  Leave a comment
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Legrand challenged me to join its “DIY Holiday Switch” program to demonstrate how easy it is to switch out the wall plates of our light switches, and create custom designs to suit our own holiday style. It’s no secret that I really like the adorne by Legrand products that I’ve installed throughout my house, and I accepted their offer so you could further see how customizable these pieces can be. Legrand provided me three wall plates to fit my existing system, but the execution is my own.

For a chance at f-r-e-e money: Legrand is running a holiday Pinterest contest, where users who create a holiday design Pinterest board could win up to $500 towards adorne products. Participate if you’re interested – get instructions and submit your boards right here by this Friday to be entered!

Custom wall plates for the holidays thanks to Legrand's Adorne line.

Tree, check. Lights hung outside, yes. Last Christmas, I had just barely unpacked when I had a baby, so this year is the first in this house that I’ve felt motivated to devote energy into our holiday decorations. It’s very merry with our $35 tree from The Home Depot, our mantle and shelves are decorated with handmade projects and seasonally appropriate kid art, and it smells really great thanks to some light bulb oil infusers that I was gifted a few years ago. Would it be wrong for my house to smell like pine year-round? Can’t make up my mind.

If you’ve followed me through previous holiday seasons, you’ll remember that I’ve never been one to adopt a theme for our tree or our home – it’s always a hodge-podge of colors and memorable ornaments, and this still feels right for us – but we’ve been evolving and naturally gravitating towards a more mid-century and Scandinavian-spirited style, so adding bits and pieces of that aesthetic as it works is where our mind is at right now. I’m no designer, and I’m sure I’ll have this down pat in another 10 years or so, but what I do for now is devour learnings from people who do it really well… like pinning everything Christmas from The House that Lars Built while I eat anise cookies by my unlit-but-birch-wood-accessorized fireplace. Scandinavian hipster, question mark?

I wouldn’t have thought myself to swap out my wall plates as part of a seasonal transition, but I do like how something typically overlooked can easily be modified to tie into a holiday or event. I also really like how easy it is to change the look of a room by upgrading switches and the color of a wall plate… the adorne line makes both totally easy, and I like their products a lot because it’s a very modern look within reach for your average consumer and home enthusiast. There is no denying that the push buttons and toggles are more fun to look at than ordinary switches, and the wall plates just the same. That’s why I continue to collaborate with them – you would like them.

We have three groups of switches in our main living/dining area, so they sent me three new wall plates to play with.

Customize your Legrand Adorne wall plates for the holiday season. Easy DIY!

The plates come with a plastic sheet–glossy white on one side, matte ivory on the other–which theoretically you could decorate yourself and then stick into place on the wall plate. The alternative to that is to use the sheet as a stiff template for cutting other materials for a custom wall plate like I did here and here.

This time I chose to use a sheet of paper that emanated some holiday cheer. The paper itself from a black and white coloring book I bought at Anthropologie years ago (throwback to 2011: you might remember seeing it when I made this paper lampshade). I used the templates to trim the paper to size using an X-Acto knife for precision, and then peeled back the yellow strips to reveal an adhesive area.

You might be wondering how easy it is to peel up your design once it’s attached? It’s possible. I messed up alignment with each of the three products this time, oof. Fortunately, even with a little residue from the paper left behind, it was still plenty sticky. Worse comes to worse, you could probably use adhesive spray on the back of your custom template, and then attach it to the wall plate directly for a clean transfer.

Customize your Legrand Adorne wall plates for the holiday season. Easy DIY!

I briefly considered using a vintage holiday card trimmed to size during all of this, which is why one is shown in the photo below. Still a good idea depending on the size of your wall plates (my cards are big enough for the 1- and 2-gang wall plates, but not wide enough for the 4-gang set of switches that we have, so I threw out that idea pretty quickly.

Red trees and a vaguely Scandinavian Legrand Adorne wall plate.

I also considered overlaying little red pine details to the black and white graphic, which I still believe would have looked pretty nice.

Red trees and a vaguely Scandinavian Legrand Adorne wall plate.

When it comes time to swap on the new cover for your wall plate, you’ll have to pop off the existing cover. An ordinary flat head screwdriver is perfect for this – just wedge it in between a metal tab and the cover (an obvious area on the product, no you won’t damage your drywall) – and pop it loose.

How to replace a Legrand Adorne wallplate easily.

The new wall plate snaps right onto the existing system, no issues.

How to install a wall plate from the custom Legrand Adorne collection.

I’ve voiced concerns about the paper surface getting dirty more quickly if it were being touched a lot, but based on how the cover in the nursery still looks over a year later, I wouldn’t say it’s much of an issue at all. Apparently, I don’t touch the wall plate, I only poke at the switch.

The design isn’t literally something scandinavian, but it’s eclectic and enjoyable throughout our home at this time of year (and because it’s not screaming Christmas, we could probably get away with leaving them installed into the spring)!

Custom wall plates for the holidays thanks to Legrand's Adorne line.

Don’t forget – for a chance at f-r-e-e money, enter Legrand’s holiday Pinterest contest where users who create a holiday design Pinterest board could win up to $500 towards adorne products. Participate if you’re interested – get instructions and submit your boards right here by this Friday to be entered!