Do you like making things? Me too. Here are the projects I’ve created and the tutorials to match!

DIY Painted Flower Pots for Confetti Online

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I wrote a little post over on Confetti online that I thought you might enjoy. They’re the fastest, simplest painted flower pots. I think they’d make great centrepieces for a garden wedding or for a backyard barbecue. The best thing about terra cotta pots is that the paint dries instantly. Nothing better than a DIY project that can be finished in 10 minutes!

You can see more photos and a little explanation over on Confetti.

DIY Stamped and Watercolored Poem Greeting Cards

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I have a confession to make. I do not actually need more greeting cards. I’m a recovering greeting card hoarder. I’d pick up pretty boxes of thank you notes and blank cards, mostly from TJMaxx, whenever I saw a new design I liked. And I picked them up at a much higher rate than I mailed them out. When I moved to Dublin, my whole card collection came with me, at which point I realized I’d better use up those cards before I bought any new ones. I’ve mostly kicked the addiction in the last few years, but that doesn’t stop me from DIYing a few now and then. After all, I also have a giant collection of blank greeting cards out in the studio. Many, many more than I’ll ever need.  diy_greeting_cards_poem_stamp_2014_2

For all my vast collection of greeting cards, I didn’t have anything particularly sweet or inspiring. Tons of thank you notes and some floral prints, but nothing with an inspirational phrase. Which led me to this simple DIY project. Blank greeting cards, watercolor paints, and a super-duper customizable stamp. (I got mine from Viking, they’ve quite a selection to choose from but I thought this one was the best – it comes with tweezers for moving the letters around. And they also have same day delivery in Ireland which is fairly novel.)

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I painted on really simple strokes of thinned out pink watercolor paint and let it dry completely. Then I arranged my little letters on my stamp and pressed it on. Once you have your stamp set up, you could whip out lots of them really quickly. A whole pack of them would make a really sweet gift, actually. And there’s a new way for me to use up that stockpile of blank greeting cards!

I’d love to know what poem you’d stamp. I find this Emerson poem nicely inspiring without being too over the top. It just makes you want to take a walk around the block!

 

DIY Fabric Covered Numbers for Confetti.ie

fabric table numbers finished 2

I was doing so well with DIY Thursday at the start of the year, and then those Thursdays just got away from me. I do have an excuse, which I’d like to share with you today. I’ve been creating so many projects and posts and content for Confetti.ie that there has been very little time or space in my brain left for my own projects. Which completely contradicts the point of DIY Thursday. However, now that I’m starting to put these posts up on Confetti, I thought some of them would be fun to share with you while I catch up on DIYing around the house.

This one is a DIY tutorial for fabric covered table numbers. They’re designed for a wedding (because Confetti’s a wedding site), but I think they’re so cute I’m going to have to make some with our initials to sit on our bookcase. The fabric is a Liberty print and there’s something about their florals that makes me get over my general distaste for florals.

You can see the full (and super simple) tutorial over on Confetti.ie.

Simple DIY / Copper Gilded Salt Cellars

salt cellar

Happy Thursday, friends! Time for another DIY project and this one, yet again, is the simplest. I got it in my head that for my 30th birthday dinner party, I wanted to have touches of copper along with my mint green dishes. I’ve already shared how I polka dotted the water glasses, so now I thought I’d show you my little copper gilded salt cellars.

I love the look of salt (and pepper) cellars with tiny little spoons. I rarely use them in restaurants, but they just look so fresh that I’ve started to use one in our house. I’m always tempted to run my fingers through the salt – I never do, but let me tell you that is the reason I don’t use them in restaurants! If I’m tempted, who knows who else is tempted!

Anyway, I digress. The copper gilded salt cellars involve three supplies: liquid copper leaf, masking tape, and these little tiny glass bowls I found at Ikea in a pack of four. Tape off a little section of the bowl with the masking tape, and paint the remaining bit. Let it dry and peel off the tape carefully. Et voila! Copper gilded salt cellars perfect for making any dinner a little more festive.

Tell me, what are your thoughts on salt cellars? Do you ever use them in restaurants or do you have the same reservations as me?

 Photo by Rincy Koshy.

DIY / A Traditional Irish Phone Seat Makeover

phone seat makeover title

Happy DIY Thursday, friends! The sun is shining (for the moment, at least), and I’m excited to share this little DIY phone seat that I made over for our almost-finished front room. I used to consider our front room to be a little useless. You have to walk through it to get to the rest of the house, so it could never be a bedroom. But once I embraced the room as our best storage option in an apartment with no closets, it has become much more useful!  phone makeover 2

Interior designers are always saying houses should have “landing strips”, or places where you can put your keys and shoes and mail when you walk in the house. Well, I think you could consider this the whole airport – a whole room devoted just to bags, backpacks, paperwork, basketball boots, motorcycle gear, jackets, and the list goes on.

When one of our neighbors was giving away this little traditional Irish phone seat, I thought it would make the perfect addition. It’s a nice little place to sit down and take shoes off or put them on, and it has storage for all of our mail and stamps and notecards in the drawers. I also love that it’s something that used to be in every household – the old landline phone with rotary numbers used to sit on the little table. I like imagining all the phone calls, with both good and bad news, that used to happen on this little seat.

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It did, however, start out kind of ugly, with brown laminated wood and icky brown fabric. However, a few coats of paint and some red dotty fabric on the seat makes it so cheerful to see when you enter the house. It was incredibly simple to recover – I just removed the screws that attached the seats, used a staple gun to attach the red dotty fabric, and then screwed the seats back on!

My brother gave us the limited edition sailboat print a few years ago and I finally got around to having it mounted a few weeks ago. It’s a sailboat on Portland Harbor with the East End in the background, where both my brother and sister have apartments, and where I had an apartment before I got married. I love seeing it when I walk in the house!  phone seat makeover

I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to share photos of the finished space in the coming weeks, although I’m realizing photographing such a tiny space is going to drive me nuts. Trying to take photos of this sweet phone seat was nearly impossible! I’m also realizing my DIY projects might be a little more impressive with before photos. Sometimes I just forget until I’m halfway through a project, at which point my hands are too painty to take any photos. A new DIY resolution for me!

Simple DIY / Valentine’s Heart T-shirt

heart tshirt diy title Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I have a little simple DIY for your Friday that will take you all of twenty minutes to create, just in time for a Valentine’s date tonight. And if your Valentine’s evening consists of red wine and House of Cards (big plans for us, I tell ya!), lose the red lippy and blazer, replace with a cardigan and slippers and you’re still festive for a night in!

heart t-shirt Here’s what to do: Cut a tiny heart from a piece of thick paper. Using fabric paint, paint on a line of red hearts diagonally across the t-shirt. Once those are complete, paint a line of light pink hearts diagonally across the t-shirt. Repeat until the t-shirt is covered in hearts and voila! Sweet little heart shirt for Valentine’s Day! One tip that I’m not sure I could explain more delicately than this: try to avoid placing a heart directly in the middle of the boob areas. It’s not that kind of t-shirt! Well, at least mine isn’t!

I used a €6 t-shirt from Dunnes Stores. They’re my go-to white t-shirts because they’re cheap but good enough quality that they’ll last a while, and they have a forgiving amount of stretch. Perfect for having a few too many chocolates this evening!  heart tshirt diy 2

I hope you have a wonderful, cosy Valentine’s Day, full of treats and extra squeezes from loved ones! See you next week!

Thanks to Michael for taking these photos! And thanks to my sister for gifting me those sparkly earrings for Christmas! They’re perfectly festive for any holiday!

 

Simple DIY // Gilded Valentine’s Plant Pots

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Another DIY Thursday project for you today! This one was all set and ready to go last week when my website went haywire and took a 72 hour hiatus. But this week, all is right with the world and we have gilded plant pots just in time for Valentine’s Day. Wouldn’t these make the sweetest little Valentine gift for your girlfriends? A little sparkle that can stick around long after the last of the Valentine’s chocolate is gone.  gilded plant pots 1

As always, this is a pretty simple DIY project. You’ll need teeny tiny succulents (or other tiny plants, of course), teeny tiny terra cotta plant pots, paint, a paint brush, gold foil, and gold foil adhesive. I found the teeny succulents at Adonis Florist near St. Patrick’s Cathedral for 95 cents each, and I found the terra cotta pots at Vibes and Scribes in Cork for a euro each. gilded plant pot 4

I painted each pot with two quick coats of Martha Stewart craft paint, and it took no time at all to dry since the terra cotta soaks it right up. A few minutes later, I swiped on some gold leaf adhesive and then added bits of gold leaf. For the “e”, I simply drew an e shape with the adhesive and stuck on the gold leaf. When I brushed off the excess, this imperfect little letter was left. purple and pink plant pots

For the purple pot, I used my q-tip and liquid copper leaf trick. Even easier!

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These little pots would make such sweet gifts for your child’s teacher or for one of your girlfriends. The succulents are relatively easy to keep alive, and the paint and gold leaf add just the right amount of sparkle to celebrate Valentine’s Day!

 

Bedroom Reveal and a Moss Cottage Giveaway!

bedroom makeover

After a harrowing weekend dealing with a hacked website (I’m sorry if you visited and weren’t able to see anything!), I am finally, finally, finally ready to share the reveal of our bedroom makeover! And there’s even a fun giveaway for those of you who make it to the very end! Bear with my photographs, as this room tiny and therefore very difficult to photograph!

Let’s start at the beginning. First, the before photo. Here’s what our bedroom looked like before. It was fine, but so very beige and bland. And although it may not look like it, the new version is much more spacious.

bedroom

 

First things first, we painted everything white. No more magnolia cream! Then, one night while Michael was at practice, I moved that wardrobe into our front room (which is also almost finished, so you’ll get a reveal of that in a few weeks). He wasn’t too pleased at the beginning that I was moving things all around, but I think he has grown to appreciate exactly how much better it is to have the wardrobe in another room, both visually and spatially. At least that’s what I tell myself.

bedroom makeover from hall

There are two people who deserve so much credit for their part in this room makeover. First, my grandmother. My grandmother has handmade these beautiful patchwork quilts for the beds in her house. When I was little I used to love running my hands over them to feel the different textures. Who are we kidding, I still love doing that – it’s the best when you find the little squares of soft velvet.

For a few years, I hinted that I might like a “Grandma quilt” of my own. When I received one I was so pleased to get to see all the pieces of fabric that I remembered from growing up – Barbie dresses, Easter frocks, and so many more that I know my mom and grandmother have such sweet memories from.

Now, here’s the only problem. I am very protective of my Grandma quilt. I brought it to Ireland when I moved, and I put it in a basket of blankets in our living room. And I never let Michael touch it for fear that he would smudge chocolate or crumbs all over it. So it really wasn’t living up to its full potential.  bedroom makeover bed 2

But this year, in one of my daydreams about making over our house, I realized I could use it as a sort of headboard if I could figure out how to hang it from the ceiling. Finally, my mother-in-law suggested using a dowel (infinitely cheaper than a curtain rod in this country!) suspended from hooks. It’s perfect! It keeps the quilt out of harm’s way, but gives it a place of honor where I can look at it every day.  bedroom makeover bed

When my mom came to visit last fall, she helped me with some of the other projects in the room. First, she came up with the totally inspired idea to make the two side tables by cutting a taller set of shelves that we already had into two pieces. And then she made me a dust ruffle to cover the hideous box spring. I didn’t want something too ruffly, so she made it flat with pleats. We have drawers for added storage in the box spring, so we needed to have access to them, but I really didn’t want to see it any longer. This is way more classy!

Using a piece of MDF that was hanging around, I made a matching headboard and the two pieces together make the bed look completely different. Rather than pay an arm and a leg for batting to make the headboard puffy, I picked up a cheap duvet from Ikea and staple gunned that around it before stapling on the purple fabric. Then I attached the purple piece to the posts from our existing headboard.

Finally, I sewed a couple pillows to tie in the deep colors from the quilt. The yellow pillow is actually made from a flour sack cloth that came from the farm where my mother-in-law grew up. I love having a piece of Michael’s family and a piece of my family displayed in the room.  bedroom makeover artwork

For the wall opposite the bed, I spruced up this faux fur stool, which you’ll remember from this DIY tutorial. Then I decided to take a quote from our wedding and turn it into a calming piece of art we could wake up to each morning. We were married by a couple who were Michael’s youth leaders when he was growing up, Josh and Debs, and they spoke so eloquently about grace and forgiveness at our wedding. I remember their words so often and I thought I’d like to wake up to these words of wisdom every morning. The words aren’t painted perfectly, but they have already brought me such peace if I’m stewing about something when I’m trying to go to sleep.  bedroom dressers

Our Ikea dressers have stayed in the same spot because there is really no other space to put them – and boy did I try! Eventually we’d like to upgrade them to something more visually pleasing (and less obviously Ikea), but for now they are working fine and are way less dull now that the walls are white! bedroom makeover detail

I’ve started using this little green egg crate for my earrings and rings. I love that it reminds me of the chickens! And you can find the DIY tutorial for the frame jewellery holder right here.

annie sloan

And now for the giveaway part of this post! Jen from Moss Cottage has offered to give one lucky winner a copy of Annie Sloan’s most recent book: Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture. I used chalk paint to make over our little fuchsia stool and just loved the results – and this book is packed full of ideas for sprucing up furniture with chalk paint.

To enter, leave a comment and tell me if you have used something that reminds you of your own family in your home decor. I’ll pick a winner on Monday, February 10th.

 

Simple DIY / Rock Magnets

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It’s Thursday, so it’s DIY day here on From China Village! These really simple DIY rock magnets are inspired my mom. Each place she travels, she collects a rock to add to her collection. My brother and sister and I all remember a trip to Windsor Palace in England when we were younger where my mom tried to pick up a souvenir pebble without alerting the very stern-looking royal guards. We were all terrified she would get us in trouble for disturbing a single pebble on those perfectly manicured grounds! I think there was a strategically dropped tissue that produced just enough cover to nab her souvenir and we all lived to tell the tale.  diy rock magnets 3

This DIY project would be a great way to use those little souvenir rocks my mom collects on her adventures. I’m a huge proponent of incorporating meaningful bits and pieces into your everyday life, so I came up with a way to put these little souvenirs to use! Wouldn’t it be wonderful to remember an adventure each time you stuck a reminder or photo on your notice board with a pretty little rock magnet?  rock magnets 4

It doesn’t hurt that this is one of the simplest DIY projects going. You need three things: rocks that aren’t too big or too heavy, magnet dots from the craft store, and super glue. There’s one trick that I learned the hard way – make sure you’re gluing your rock to the correct side of the magnet so that the side of the magnet that faces out still sticks to the magnet board. It took me gluing a few rocks to the wrong side of the magnets for it to occur to me to check that they were going to work properly. Oops! But my mistake is your gain.  diy rock magnets 2

I collected these little rocks from the beach up in Howth. I tried to find some that were similar to each other so I would have one set of pink granite and one set of smooth black magnets. They look so crisp against the white magnet boards that I found on sale at Ikea for 3 euro each – and hopefully those magnet boards will finally get hung up on the wall this weekend!  rock magnet diy

There you have it, a sweet little souvenir DIY project! Happy adventuring!

Simple DIY / Faux Fur Stool

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Good morning, friends! For 2014 (or at least the foreseeable future), I’ve declared Thursday to be DIY Day on From China Village. Last year involved a lot of DIY that was not very interesting to share – so much house painting! – so I want to bring you lots more smaller projects that I’m getting to work on now that the boring stuff is out of the way.

First up, this little DIY faux fur stool I put together last weekend! I’ve been coveting one of these fur stools from Makers & Brothers for quite a while, but they are just too expensive for this round of makeovers. So I decided to make my own! It was very simple: ugly stool + chalk paint + faux fur + staple gun. Presto! A cute little stool for our bedroom! faux fur stool diy 2

First, I stopped into the sweet Moss Cottage shop in Dundrum and picked up some Annie Sloane chalk paint in a few different colors. I hadn’t used chalk paint before but as it turns out, for a girl who hates clean up, this stuff is the business. Jen, the lovely owner of Moss Cottage, gave me some tips before I headed out the door, and she assured me it’s pretty foolproof. Water it down with a bit of water, brush on a few coats, and seal with wax. Super simple.  faux fur stool diy 3

I decided to try this super-saturated red-fuschia on a very sad old wooden stool that had been sitting in my studio for years.  faux fur stool diy

Once the paint was dry and sealed with wax (you just wipe it on with a cloth), I took a piece of faux fur from Ikea and cut a chunk of it just a little bigger than the top of the stool. I then stapled the faux fur onto the stool, securing it underneath. The original top of the stool (another resolution – remember to take before photos) was pretty beat up caning, but if I want to take the faux fur off, I haven’t damaged anything that you’ll see.

I’m very pleased with how it turned out – it adds such a fun punch of color to our bedroom, which you will be seeing in full very soon!

Huge thanks to Moss Cottage for providing me with the paint for this project. Moss Cottage offers workshops on how to use Annie Sloane chalk paint, as well as other bridal and seasonal workshops throughout the year. And the adorable Moss Cottage is worth a visit for chalk paint and lots of other adorable bits and pieces! 

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