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brown paper packages: September 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

{decorative wooden letters}

I got the best surprise in the mail best friend's (since college!) birthday package. I look forward to this all year, because she is uber creative and talented, and always has the best ideas.
I LOVE this set of fall letters--she chose a really great set of papers (hers are Basic Grey). She also told me how she made them, and I can't wait to make another set for Christmas!


-wooden letters (thick enough to stand on their own)
-scrapbook adhesive
-scrapbook paper of your choice
-sanding tool or file...she likes these:

(sanding block by Making Memories)

(file kit by Basic Grey)

-walnut colored ink and sponge



-Trace letters onto scrapbook paper, then cut out carefully.
-Using scrapbook adhesive, adhere the paper to the letters.
-Sand/file the edges of the paper so the paper is an exact fit.
-Distress the edges using the walnut ink and sponge.

That's it! Such a fun and easy way to decorate for any season you choose. Thanks Ang!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

{metal FHE boards}

When I saw something similar to this online, I knew it was what I was looking for. I love all the different pieces that go into it, but wanted to change it up a little bit. I love how it turned out! For the names, they are just basic craft stars, painted black, distressed, and stained. I ordered vinyl lettering for the names, put magnets on the back, and voila!

Metal FHE Boards


-10x1x28 pine board
-9x27 piece of bead board
-8x26 piece of metal sheeting
-vinyl lettering to fit metal, with plenty of space at the bottom to hang magnets
-your choice of paint for wood and bead board
-4 metal tacks
-sub-floor adhesive (in a caulking-like tube)
-4 roofing nails, 1 1/4 inch maximum


1. When buying your wood and bead board, both Home Depot and Lowe's will cut them down the to the size you need for free.

2. Router the edges of your pine board. Sand, paint, and stain as desired.
-Paint bead board as desired. If you are using the pre-primed bead board, spray paint covers and sticks much better than craft paint.

3. With the roofing nails, attach the beadboard to the center of the pine board in each of the four corners (should be a 1/2 inch border). Make sure you go in far enough that they won't show once the metal sheeting is on.

4. Caulk a medium amount of the sub-flooring adhesive to the back of the metal sheeting, but not too close to the edges (it will squeeze out and make a mess). Place it in evenly on the bead board (should have a 1/2 inch border)and press down. Let dry.

5. The metal tacks should be placed in each of the four corners of the metal sheeting, for not only a decorative look, but to keep the corners of the sheeting secure. You may need to hammer or drill a small hole through the sheeting first, before attempting to hammer the nails.

6. Wipe metal sheeting clean, and let dry. Apply the vinyl lettering, making sure to place your letters higher than normal (NOT centered), so you will have plenty of space at the bottom for magnets/names.

7. Make magnets of your choice! Some ideas: glass rocks or pebbles with each family member's picture on it; wooden stars/hearts/circles/squares that have been painted and distressed, with family members' names in vinyl lettering on them; wooden blocks with initials only...

Friday, September 25, 2009

{abc books}

This was one of my first posts, and didn't include a tutorial. After several requests, I am re-posting to include it.


The Christmas my girls were 2 years old (2008), I really wanted to make them ABC books. I absolutely love the way they turned out, but I learned some definite do's and don'ts along the way, and I'm going to share them with you!

  • 8 /12 x 11 white cardstock, 14 pieces (not textured)
  • scrapbook paper for front cover
  • 2 other coordinating colors of cardstock
  • ***no-heat lamination sheets--repositionable ones are best (Office Max, Staples, etc.)
  • double stick tape
  • ribbon

1. Gather and print your pictures. This will probably be the most time consuming part of the whole process, but it can also be really fun. Now for decision time. (This is where the major learning part came in...) Actual photos cannot be laminated with a heat laminator, which is what any print shop or store will use. So, you can either make color copies and print them on cardstock, or you can purchase the self laminating sheets and do it yourself. I would price out both, and decide which one you would rather do. I didn't realize this until I had already put my whole book together and ready to laminate, so I laminated them myself.

2. Cut the white cardstock into half, width-wise. I would suggest not using textured paper--you really want to reduce the bulk as much as possible.

3. Trim your pictures to fit the space, and mat onto one of your coordinating cardstock colors.

4. Print out your text. I wanted very plain, classic letters, so I used a basic font. You can format this however you'd like. Trim your text, then mat on the other coordinating cardstock color. *I actually alternated this pattern on every other page--on one page I would mat the picture in brown and the text in pink, then on the next page I matted the picture in pink and the text in brown. You can really use as many colors as you like--just decide ahead of time what your pattern will be. You'll also want to create

4. Now you can start putting your pages together. You should have 28 half sheets of white cardstock, but you'll use only 27--the front cover plus the 26 letters of the alphabet. Using the double stick tape, create each page with the picture and coordinating text.

5. Now you're ready for lamination! If you used color copies, you can take it to get laminated and bound. If you used actual pictures, then you will need to use the no-heat lamination sheets. If you do use those, I would high suggest using the ones that are re-positionable. They are worth the cost! If not, then you need to be extra careful about laying down the lamination in order to avoid any wrinkles or bumps.

6. I went to a large office supply store for the binding--it was around $6. There were less expensive options as well.

7. To add a little more flair, I tied ribbon on each spiral of the binding.

Ta-da! Darling ABC books that any child would love!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

{keepsake boxes}

These are so fun! I first made these when I wanted something special to give to some girls in a youth program I worked with were turning 16 years old. I thought a keepsake box, for all of their letters, mementos, etc. would be perfect.
However, these can be adapted for any need. A baby box (it would make a great gift), jewelry box for a little girl (or big girl!), recipe box...the ideas are endless.

Items you need:

-cardboard craft box, any size desired
-craft paint
-foam brushes
-scrapbook paper
-ribbon, embellishments, coordinating paper
-Mod Podge


1. Paint the box and lid the desired color. Let dry.
2. Cut scrapbook paper just smaller than the top of the lid, and each side, so it will leave an edge around it, showing the paint.
3. Use mod podge to adhere paper to box, then cover every surface (including painted surface) with the mod podge. Let dry.
4. Embellish as desired. I love ribbon, different types of lettering, coordinating card stock and scrapbook paper---the sky is the limit!

Friday, September 18, 2009

{boxed berry wreaths}

I saw something similar to this on a friend's wall, and knew I had to try it. I have a particular affection for berry wreaths, but it has to be the right kind. I couldn't find any that I liked around here, so I found someone to make them for me, and had them sent to my home. They were actually quite reasonable, and less than I would have spent at a local craft store. They turned out exactly right!
My husband made the box frame for me, then I painted, sanded, distressed, and stained it. I was really pleased with the way it turned out.
If you don't have access to the tools to make a box frame yourself, look for old or new frames that you love. A square frame with one wreath, a rectangle with three wreaths, or even a smaller frame with miniature wreaths would all work really well. Spray paint your frame, distress and stain it if desired, then hang!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

{an apple for the teacher}

How fun is this? Who doesn't love a good caramel apple?

Taking an apple to the teacher is certainly a tradition, but dipping it in caramel takes it to the next level. I used this recipe from Food Network, and instead of a popsicle stick, I used a stick from my yard. I love the charm that it adds. Wrap in cellophane, and tie on ribbons. Voila! My kids loved taking them to their teachers. Happy First Day of School!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

{seasonal wood blocks}

LOVE this! These 7 wood blocks spell at least 16 different words (and you might be able to find more)that cover every season and almost every holiday. When I saw this idea, the biggest decision I had to make was what color to paint them!
I did change it up a little bit--instead of pre-made blocks, I bought 4x4 posts at Home Depot and cut them into 4 inch squares. It was immensely less expensive to do it this way, and I like the larger size.
Here are all the words they can spell:



-4x4 post, cut into 4 inch squares. A large hardware store should be able to do this for you. (or you can purchase pre-cut wood blocks at a craft store)
-craft or spray paint
-vinyl letters: ( I used the Americana font, all lowercase letters)

BLOCK 1- H, Y, E, D
BLOCK 2- A, C, R, S
BLOCK 3- R, P, E, T
BLOCK 4- V, N, L, O
BLOCK 5- E, O, M, D
BLOCK 6- S, M, K, I
BLOCK 7- T, F, B, W


-sand rough edges of blocks
-paint blocks
-distress edges if desired
-apply vinyl lettering

Make these today!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

{flower headbands}

I loved these when I saw them! My girls wear flowers in their hair often, but I haven't used headbands because they are so hard and pinchy (is that a word?). This is a brilliant idea, and totally adorable. So easy to make, and for $10, I made 8 pieces. I found the cutest harvest bunch of flowers at Walmart, and it had cream, red, orange, and yellow flowers in it for $5. When I saw that it had two of each, I was even happier!
You can find the tutorial here.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

{art clip boards}

Years ago I saw these in a Pottery Barn catalog, and loved them. Unfortunately, I did not love the price. A friend and I got together and made a set, and I used them forever.
Over the years, I have wanted to re-do them, and make a few changes. I finally got the opportunity when we decided to finish our basement, and build a large family room (still in progress, I might add). These will hang on one of the larger walls, along with some other "stuff" (still deciding on that too), and once it's done I will add pics of the finished project.
For now, here are the for each of my children. I have to add, that you don't have to use these to hold your children's artwork. They can also be used in a kitchen, mudroom, or office, to hold papers and other items. Placing them in a child's bedroom and personalizing it would also be really fun.


-1x6 board, cut into desired length. I made 3 foot boards, with 3 clips.
-paint color of choice; craft paint or spray paint
-stain, if desired
-6x 1/2 flat Phillips zinc screws (1 per clip)
-longer screws, to attach to wall
-wood plugs, 3/8 inch buttons
-bulldog clips, 2 1/4 inches (made for screws--UPC code #:079946020021)

***OR, as pictured above, you can use decorated clothespins instead of the clips. Both adorable, just depends on what you are looking for!***


-cut wood into desired length (hardware stores should do this for you if you need it.)
-router edges if desired
-paint, distress, and stain
-drill in bulldog clips, using phillips screws. If you are doing a 3 foot board, measuring from the very edge of your board, place your screws at 6 inches, 18 inches, and 30 inches. Lay a long ruler on your board, and mark exactly where you want them. Drill the screw in almost all the way, then take it out. Place the screw where it goes on the clip, then use a screwdriver to screw it in. If you plan on adding vinyl lettering, make sure you place the clips down far enough for it to fit, but don't let the clip hang of the board.
-add vinyl lettering
-using longer screws, attach to the wall. Paint your wood plugs to match your board, then cover the holes with them.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

{chalkboard style}

The very first question my son asks when he wakes up, and then again when he comes in the door from school (and every 30 minutes during the summer), is "What's for dinner?".
After seeing this adorable plate on my friend Linsey's blog, I knew I had found the answer.
It's the perfect thing for my kitchen, and Ryan can see it as soon as he comes in the door!


-a really cute plate.
-chalkboard spray paint
-painters' tape


-Tape off the edges of your plate with painters' tape.

-Following directions on can, spray first coat.
-I waited 20 minutes, then sprayed another coat.
-Let cure for 24 hours, remove tape.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

{photo blocks}

I love this project--the sky is the limit! I bought a piece of lumber---2x6x10---at Home Depot. I had them cut it into 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 pieces, as many as it would do (the width if the lumber is about 1/2 inch less than what it indicates, so even though my lumber was 6 inches wide, technically it was 5 1/2 inches wide). I routered them at home, with an angled bit. Then I sanded, painted, re-sanded for the distressed look, and stained (my favorite is Minwax's Provincial). After the stain was set, I mod podged my picture on. I first put a little bit on the back of the picture, then set it in place. I gently used my foam brush to add small amounts of mod podge on the picture and beveled edges. Only use enough to make it adhere--too much can cause air bubbles. You can use 4x6 pics or 5x7 pics, depending on how far away (5x7) or close up (4x6) the picture is. I cropped mine to be about 4 1/2 inches. After the mod podge has dried, tie a ribbon around the sides and top, or around the lower middle. These also make great gifts--

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

{playroom ABC's}

I found these fabulous ABC tiles on the clearance shelves at the Pottery Barn outlet, and I loved them as soon as I saw them. I knew I wanted to implement them somehow in the playroom, and I love how it turned out. This is SO simple--and instead of nails you could use clothespins.

  • 3/4 inch MDF, cut into the length and width you need (remember...your hardware store should do this for you!)
  • spray paint
  • 2 inch nails
  • air nail gun
  • Spray paint your cut wood--sand and distress as desired. I would use either a Ralph Lauren glaze, or a dark stain (I love Minwax Provincial).
  • Pound in your nails, or hot glue on the clothespins.
  • Using the air gun, nail the boards where you want them on your wall, making sure they are level.
  • Add your embellishments!


{child-sized table & chairs}

I have been eyeing small table & chair sets forever, but just couldn't bring myself to pay the money for them. So, used an old end table that I had, after I discovered it was the perfect square size, and height for my little girls. LOVE it! Using my 40% off coupons, I bought bare wood chairs at Michael's, then spray painted them red, using Rustoleum's Colonial Red (from Home Depot). My girls love these...perfect for books, puzzles, and tea parties!


{framed magnet board & white board}

I LOVE these. We did this in our original playroom upstairs, but used magnet spray paint instead of the sheet metal. When we moved our playroom downstairs after finishing the basement, (see THIS post), we discovered that sheet metal definitely works better--much stronger, and more workable in a playroom. Here's how we did it:

  • 3/4 inch MDF, cut into the lengths and widths you need (a large hardware store will do this for you)
  • spray paint
  • sheet metal (**Check out your are for sheet metal companies. They will be able to cut your sheet metal to the exact size you need it, rather than having to use 2 pieces from the local hardware store. This eliminates a rough seam, and having to figure out how to cover it to protect little fingers, and for aesthetics. Thanks to a friend's referral, I found one here where I live. It was slightly more expensive than buying it Home Depot, but it was the right size, and MUCH thicker and more durable.)
  • shower board (that white, slick stuff that's for shower walls--the hardware store will cut this too!)
  • air nail gun
1. Measured the wall, figured out the space we could fill.
2. Using the MDF, create a frame to surround your sheet metal and shower board. One of my favorite tools ever is the pocket jig--if you want to make frames, this is a tool that can't be beat. It makes it much more streamlined, and secure. You don't have to miter the edges--you can just square them off. can cut your pieces and put them up separately, if you're not sure how to make the frame. Then paint!
3. Once you have your frames (or wood pieces, cut to size), you're ready to get them on the wall. If you have a air nail gun, or access to one, I highly recommend it. It makes the work so much faster, and cleaner. It takes 2 seconds to get them secure and in place.

**If you have any further questions about how to do the frame, or getting it on the wall, let me know.


{ribbon topiary}

What a great project! So many combinations of ribbon to use, and perfect if you have lots of ribbon and scraps around your house.

Items needed:

-metal bucket, or other base of your choice
-spray paint, if desired
-green floral foam
-thick wooden dowel (I used the second thickest dowel from Walmart--I believe it was 7/8 of an inch)
-styrofoam ball, size of your choice, depending on how big you want your topiary to be (I used a 6 inch ball)
-metal straight pins
-ribbon! I used 7 different types of ribbon, and about 20 total yards. Mine is rather large, and you could easily make yours smaller if you wanted to, which would require less ribbon. I found several spools for .97, or on clearance and that really saved me a ton. I also did this project with Erica, and we shared the cost of ribbon, which helped too. The strategy I would suggest for choosing ribbon would be to find one pattern that you really like, that has several different colors in it that you like and want to work around. Then you can use that as your base, and add ribbons to match from there. Make sure you mix up textures and colors--it really makes a difference. Sheers, ric rac, wired, grosgrain--anything is possible! I also used a variety of widths, so don't worry if you can't find ribbon you like that's all the same width. It actually adds a lot to the overall look.
-moss, or some other filler for base


-paint your bucket if desired. I got mine (metal bucket) for $1 at Walmart, and spray painted it black. You could paint it any color, or keep it metal if you like.

-paint your dowel. This color really depends on the color of your base, and which color combinations you are using in your ribbon.

-cut and insert foam into bucket. I found that a cutting board and sharp knife worked well. Make sure the foam is tight, and won't move inside the base.

-insert dowel in the center of your base, securely into the foam.

-Place your styrofoam ball on the dowel, making sure it is centered. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be, so I would suggest a measuring tape and a marker to help guide you. If you mess up, don't worry. The ribbon will totally cover any holes. I know, because I had at least 10 of them, lol!

-Time for ribbon! Cut a piece of ribbon about 3 inches or so in length. Bring the two ends together, overlapping a bit, to make a loop. Stick a straight pin through the place where the ends meet, and stick it into the styrofoam ball. I started at the top, and moved my way down, although you could really start anyplace you wanted to. Make sure you vary sizes, textures, widths, and ribbons as you're placing them on the ball, and also the direction they are facing. You can also add some texture by letting the ends of some of the ends of your loops stick out (when you overlap the ends, just let one of the ends extend out past the loop) when you place them on. Continue until the whole ball is covered, making sure none of the ball shows through.

-Fill your base with moss, or whatever you desire.

-If you'd like, tie a ribbon in a knot or bow around your base. Voila!


These journals are really so versatile--they can be used for family, personal, baby, travel, wedding, and more. They make great gifts--easy to make, and relatively inexpensive. Scrapbook paper, mod podge, ribbon, cardstock (I prefer Bazzill), and eyelets are all you need to complete this project. Be creative!!