Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DIY: Tray Tutorial

Easy gift idea, ahoy!  I've been seeing unfinished wood trays at Michael's and JoAnn for a few years, and I finally bought a couple of them last week.  One I'm keeping for myself (to wrangle some of the crap on my desk), and the other is being given as a Christmas gift.  Since I don't want to ruin the surprise for anybody, I'll break down how I made this one:


Not only was this super easy, but you can do it for about $10 (maaaybe $15 if you have to buy everything).

You'll need:

an unfinished wood tray
paint (I used leftover ceiling paint)
scrapbook paper
mod podge
paint brushes (I used foam)
newspaper or a drop cloth (unless you're splatter-proof)

Just an FYI, if you're not looking for a specific tray size, check out Michael's first.  They appear to only carry one size, but it's the largest I came across and it's only $3.99.  JoAnn has two sizes, but at $5.99 for a smaller version, and $6.99 for the same size Michael's had.

What to do:

First, I dry-brushed some white paint on there.  I didn't worry about making it perfect, and I let a little bit of the wood show through.  Of course, if you want to go for full coverage or try spray paint instead, do your thing.  To save time and paint, you don't need to do the tray bottom itself, since that's where the paper will go.

Next, while the paint is drying, cut your paper to the correct size.

Then, starting at one end and working toward the other, paint a strip of mod podge onto the tray and smooth the paper over top of it.  If you try to put the whole piece of paper down at once, you'll end up in air bubble city.  Save yourself the headache and just do it bit by bit.  I wasn't too fussed with making mine super smooth (since I was going for a slightly distressed look) but if you want yours totally flat, try smoothing it with the edge of a credit card or a ruler.

Finally, after the mod podge under the paper is dry, paint a layer of it on top.  Wait for it to dry.  Boom!  You're done!

What have you been crafting lately?  Do you plan to make any of your holiday gifts?

Monday, November 22, 2010

On the Cheap: Rain, rain, go away.

This weather is CRAZY PANTS.  It's 65 and thunderstorming right now.  Before it started raining it was humid enough to make my hair flat in a room that's basically airtight and nowhere near nature.  But get this--it's supposed to SNOW on Thanksgiving!  Is it an El Nino year?  Or maybe it's just the start of the Apocalypse, because this is some weird stuff.

Either way, I hope you have a cute pair of these...


...otherwise you'll be very sad indeed.  Evergreen rain boots, on sale for $39.96.


Plaid boots that look like riding boots (except they're not!), $24.99.


And finally, something spicy.  A nice dark red to chic up a crappy day, $49.99.

Is the weather in your 'hood spastic right now, too?  Any theories?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gift Guide: Decorating Darling

I went to see Harry Potter last night!  At midnight!  And now the brain is sluggish from only getting three hours of sleep.  I've been sitting here for a while trying to string some words together about how choosing a home decor gift for somebody can be squicky, but nothing is making sense.  (I also apologize now for any typos.)  Maybe I'll just spew some words and hope you can figure it out:

Gifts hard buy classic versatile.

M'kay?  Here's what I found.


A classic white cake stand, available in three sizes.  We actually got the middle option as a wedding gift, and although we've never put a cake on it, it still comes in handy for displaying finger foods at the annual Super Bowl party.  Which might sound kind of weird, but when you have tiny kitchen surfaces, something with a small base lets you get more dishes into the area.  It's also nice to have some white serve wear because it literally goes with everything.  These are currently on sale, starting at $14.99.


Again, clear glass canisters will match almost every style.  You can use them for either storage or decoration, and in places other than the kitchen cabinets.  Maybe your craft supplies are a mess, or you need to keep some pens and paper on your nightstand because you think of stuff right before you fall asleep.  Set of four, $24.99.


Monograms are trendy now, and these are a little more special than a plain ol' letter.  Plus, they're still neutral enough to go in almost anybody's home without looking like An Obvious Gift.  Candle in a jar (choose your own scent!), $10.

Have you ever rolled the dice and gotten somebody a decor gift?  Was it a success?  Also, what did you think of HP (if you went last night)?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Miscellaneous: A Bloggy Makeover

Nope, you're not in the wrong place.  This is still Final Clothes-Out, but now with... COLOR!

And left-side navigation!

And my made-in-Paint blog title!  (Impressed with my mad graphic design skillz?  I thought so.)

Don't worry, this isn't one of those makeovers that leads to totally different content.  I'm still bringin' the deals, just to a snazzier spot.

We now return to your regularly scheduled Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gift Guide: Bookworm

If I could sit and read all day, I totally would. If there wasn't a job to go to, a side business to run, or a house to clean, I would be eating Doritos and soaking up the words of JK Rowling and the Bronte sisters. And speaking of literary situations, we had a waiter at Buffalo Wild Wings last month who was named Gage, after the character in Pet Sematary. Gage. The zombie little boy who comes back from the dead to kill his own parents. Nope, nothing weird about that!

Anywho, bookworms can be hard to shop for if you're not one. Aside from gifting us the obvious (books--or a Kindle if you're feeling especially charitable), you might be stuck, so I tracked down some suggestions:


Book prints similar to this one have been popping up more and more lately, but this is the first I've seen of a literary character. Plus, it's only $10 for an 8x10. Score!


Maybe you're super cool and Jane Eyre is your second-favorite book ever (right after Harry Potter, which obviously counts as one epic tome). Or maybe you just know somebody who would like this necklace (HINT, HINT). Either way, a sterling silver Jane accessory might not be a bad idea. $25, including the chain.


It's kind of a splurge at $120, plus shipping, but how awesome would it be to have a vintage card catalog in your house? Um, really awesome.

What are you getting the bookworms on your list?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Go Retro: Navy Baby

It's not often that I quote Dude, Where's My Car but it seems fitting for this.


Dude!

Sweeeeeeet.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Shop Update: First at bat.

One down, two to go.

The first craft show was a success! It was a small-ish crowd, but I still made twice my goal (which was to double my booth fee). Not bad for five hours of "work."

Two things I learned: bring more casual stuff when you're selling to mostly non-brides (duh, Paige), and bring literally twice as much as you think you'll need. A six-foot table takes a lot to fill up, especially when you're selling relatively small jewelry.


That's how everything looked. And that's my friend Bridget, who gave up her Saturday for free Jimmy John's and the promise of sparkles.

But now it's back to my desk because the next one is a week from tomorrow. Have you ever sold anything at a craft show? What was it? How'd you do?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gift Guide: Manly Men

Not to freak you out, but there are only six Saturdays left until Christmas. YOWZA. I start my holiday shopping early (like, in August), but then I always let myself think I have TONS of time and stop looking for gifts. So now we're in November and I've only gotten about 30% of the presents I need.

Whoops.

Men can be hard to shop for, so let's get the ideas flowing for them right off the bat.


Cufflinks that are unusual without being too wacky. Because if he's the kind of dude to wear cufflinks on a regular basis, he's probably wearing them someplace fancy and miniature robots (for example) might be weird. Sterling silver Chicago maps: $38.


If a boy you know likes him some bathroom humor--which is to say "if a boy you know is alive"-- then he will probably enjoy the Deluxe Farty Kit ($9). Heck, I think it's pretty funny, too. Bonus: it comes gift-wrapped!


Finally, for the music lover, an assortment of pop art portraits. Jimmy Page is above, but you can also get Jim Morrison, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, Slash, and Jerry Garcia. Prices vary by size, starting at $20.

Where are you in your holiday shopping? Do you have any other sweet ideas for man gifts? Do tell.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Miscellaneous: OMG.

My first art show is tomorrow...


...and that's how my desk looks right now.

I'm really nervous. AND my digital credit card processor doesn't work with Macs, and guess what kind of computer I use? Yep. So now I need to buy a knucklebuster or something so I don't look like a dweeb writing down credit card numbers by hand.

But aside from all that, I'm totally ready.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On the Cheap: It's finally cold.

Welp, it's that time again: coat weather. Not sweatshirt weather, or layer-your-cardigans weather, but time for the Real Jacket to make an appearance. I made it all the way until today, November 3rd, before I busted it out. Of course, it helps that it was 65 degrees until last week. No need for that pesky winter coat until this morning.

Most places are probably in the same boat now, so let's take a look at some options:


Cute, cute, cute. This purple trench comes in three other colors and is currently marked down to $203.99--from $340. Snap! (I totally typed "Snape" first. Ha.)


Look at that COLLAR! This one is on sale, too: $194.99.


Heck, let's make this sale thing a trend. Yellow, plus toggles, PLUS a hood, is reduced to $134.99.

Have you dusted off your coat yet this year?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Holi-Daze: That's Miss Granger to you.

Did everybody have a good Halloween? Hubsey and I went to a party on Saturday with a bunch of people we knew from college and had a great time catching up. Plus, about half the people there were HP fans (there was somebody dressed as Malfoy!*), so we only got a couple of weird questions about our getups.

I showed you the Ron costume on Friday, and as promised, today I bring you Hermione. In case you're not (for some reason) completely obsessed and can't remember, here's how she looked in the movie:


And here I am in my book-accurate blue dress:


Not too shabby, considering the most complex thing I'd ever sewn before this was a pillow. I bought the dress from GoodWill for $8, and then used mostly fabric from the remnant bin at JoAnn to make the detachable bustle. It took almost 4 hours over the course of several days, but it was totally worth it. I think this officially tops my Cruella costume of yore as my favorite.

If you have any pictures of your costumes, share in the comments! Has anybody else ever done an HP character for Halloween? Who'd you pick?

*The kid who was Malfoy went ALL OUT. He bleached his hair and was in character about 80% of the time, challenging us to a duel and everything. He called me a Mudblood instead of saying hello, too. Good times!