Category Archives: DIY

DIY Expressive Pillows

Wake Up, Kiss Ass & Repeat
Wake Up Pillow by Creative Whimzy
I love when friends give me a creative challenge. While attending The 2016 Lady Project Summit in Providence, my friend saw a pillow on the stage that she just had to have.
Wake Up Pillow by Wayfair
Wake Up Pillow by Wayfair
(She had just discovered that her husband of 25 years had been cheating on her, so you'll understand why she needed this pillow!) We checked it out and it was from Wayfair. The price tag on the pillow read $200 (say WHAT?); I later found it for $97. My friend asked me if I could make this pillow for her. I said, "heck yes!" I contemplated sewing a pillow, and looked at fabric, but then realized that I could probably buy a cheaper pillow from somewhere else. (I found these little pillows on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics for $11.99. They have gold dots on one side and are plain on the back—perfect.) Next, I brainstormed with Deanna Agresti, my artist friend extraordinaire, about how to stencil the words on the pillow. She instantly had a solution. We opened Adobe Illustrator and typed in the phrase. I then went through multiple fonts until I found one I liked. From there we turned the font into outlines which made it into a shape so that the Silhouette die cutting machine could recognize the outline to cut it out.  If you're not familiar with a Silhouette die cutting machine, check out this blog for the basics: www.iheartorganizing.com. I am saving my pennies for this one, as well as learning how to use Adobe Illustrator because I see a bright future with these two babies in my toolbox. Continue reading DIY Expressive Pillows

Accordion Cards

Accordion Card by Creative Whimzy
Accordion Card by Creative Whimzy
My sister recently celebrated her birthday. I wanted to make a special card for her because she was turning the big "6-0"! (Remember when you were younger and that age sounded soooooo old?!) Well, I must say, my sister is one bad ass babe. She teaches children with autism full-time, and for kicks, teaches snowboard lessons twice a week at the local ski bump in MN. I wanted to make a card that reflected her personality and her life. IMG_5785That's why an accordion card is perfect because it's like a mini scrapbook or photo album.  There are plenty of on-line tutorials to help you actually make the blank accordion card. Pinterest has great tutorials also for card templates. (See one example  here.)  Fortunately for me, I bought this blank card several years ago and it came in its own tin case. (Sorry to say I can't find who made this one.) I used StazOn Solvent Ink Pad in Jet Black and rubber stamps to personalize the cover of the tin.
Accordion Card in a Tin
Accordion Card in a Tin
The fun part of making this card was its gradual evolution. Every few days I would look through my bag of tricks (i.e., my drawers of odds & ends, ephemera, photo albums, and so forth), and add to the card. I used photos, rubber stamps, a tiny calendar, a scrapbook page with text from Little Women with Beth & Jo's name (my sister & me!), washi tape and more. IMG_5788IMG_5789 After I made my sister's card, I decided to make another accordion card for my friend in Chicago. Her card was on a smaller scale to go with a tiny gift I sent her. On the backside, I left space to write a birthday greeting. Useful tools for this project include a paper cutter, a bone folder tool, a ruler, different patterned paper, a glue stick & your creativity.
Tiny Accordion Card
Tiny Accordion Card
IMG_6096   IMG_6105 IMG_6101 IMG_6106

Abstract Black & White Art

from West Elm
from West Elm
I've always loved large black and white abstract paintings. I've been collecting screenshots and pinning different images of black and white abstract art from the Internet. Here are some of my picks. Forgive me for not citing sources. I wasn't even sure why I was collecting these images until I realized I wanted to try my hand at painting one for myself.
from West Elm
from West Elm
             
Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 7.40.11 AM
Source Unknown
B&W
Source Unknown
Painting supplies
Supplies
Continue reading Abstract Black & White Art

Beaded Trim

My Talented Friend, Bridget
My Talented Friend, Bridget
My friend, Bridget, is so clever. She is a one-of-a-kind, a IMG_5547skilled Jill of all trades. She's the one you want during the zombie apocalypse. She's a skilled outdoorswoman, a competent motorcyclist, a mean zydeco dancer (see picture at left), a dog whisperer and an unpretentious cook. She's got a hardy laugh and a heart as deep as the Grand Canyon. She's a humanitarian and works as a nurse to earn her keep. She was my college roommate at the University of Minnesota in the 80s, and she's also one of my dearest friends. Recently I spent a few days with Bridget at her VT abode. We entertained ourselves in the day by mountain biking and hiking, and she taught me how to add beaded embellishments to my jacket at night.
Pocket with Beaded Trim
Pocket with Beaded Trim
When I last saw her, I was impressed with what I thought was the Carhartt brand adding a little feminine twist to their rugged, utilitarian clothing line.
Carhartt Jacket Bead-Dazzled
Carhartt Jacket Bead-Dazzled
            I should have known better. It was Bridget's own hand who added the beaded trim to her jacket. Being the consummate DIY-er, I told her she needed to show me how to spiff up my outdoor gear.
Beading Tools
Beading Tools
Here are the tools you need:
  • a beading needle
  • beading thread
  • different colored beads
  • a scissors
  • a small pliers (optional)
  • good lighting
Continue reading Beaded Trim

Children’s Book & Art DIY Pairing

So I've been hideously MIA, but it doesn't mean I haven't been pondering creative ideas. Today's post is about a children's picture book that I absolutely love, but hesitate to label as a "children's book" because my adult friends have enjoyed it as well. (Isn't that the definition of a good picture book anyway?!)
The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau
The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau
The book is the The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee. Appreciated by both boys and girls, it tells the tale of mysterious paintings whereby the subjects walk off of their canvases and, in some cases, wreak havoc. For  a full summary, you can read the Children's Book Review from Publisher's Weekly here. Inspired by my daughter's  eclectic project some months back where she re-purposed small plastic toy animals, (See post  "Take a Walk on the Wild Side") I decided to take a stab at her project. A friend gave me a bag of very small animals she picked up at a thrift store. If you've read Agee's book, and the above-mentioned blog post, you know where this is going. I headed out to my husband's garage to create mini-art that pairs so beautifully with Agee's book.
Tiger head
Tiger entering
Hippo exiting
Hippo exiting
I think the book and the framed animal will make an exceptional gift. Good clean fun!
Call of the Wild
Call of the Wild
IMG_5041

New Year’s Goal: Get Organized

DSCN1453
My "Lazy Jo"
I was originally going to title this post "I Hate Corner Cupboards", but as one of my New Year's Resolutions is to be positive, I caught myself. I usually don't make New Year's Resolutions, but this year I've set my sights on four: (1) be more positive, (2) organize my cupboards, (3) drink more water, and (4) try to eat dark chocolate, instead of milk chocolate. This post addresses  goal #2.  I started with the cupboard in my kitchen that I hate the most, my corner cupboard. Why do I hate it? They become catchalls for EVERYTHING! Does yours look like mine? How does this happen?! Should this Lazy Susan be named Lazy Jo?! And what about the contents of this other corner cupboard?
Corner Cupboard Mayhem
Corner Cupboard Mayhem
Continue reading New Year’s Goal: Get Organized

Another witty knitty

Little Sweetness
Little Sweetness
"All of the children wore red-and-white spotted caps. If strangers came into the forest, they curled up, still as stone, for all the world like four red-and-white spotted mushrooms."   —from Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow
My sister, Beth, recently gave me the Red Spotted Mushroom Hat knitting pattern. She bought the pattern from Ingebretsen's, a magnificent Scandinavian store in Minneapolis, Minnesota that my Norwegian family has frequented many times over the years. The pattern was inspired by Elsa Beksow's beloved children's book entitled Children of the Forest. This is a delightful story that revels in childhood and the beauty of nature. The illustrations are simply enchanting. After re-reading the story, I couldn't wait to knit the hat. As mentioned in a previous post, I love knitting baby items because they don't take long to knit, and they're so fun to give away. Paired with the book, this makes a perfect gift for one of my many colleagues that are expecting. You can never predict what toys or gifts a baby or a young child will like, especially when it comes to hats! You can't take it personally. Fortunately for me, this little sweetness likes her hat so much that she wears it both indoors and out!
Children of the Forest
Children of the Forest
Sweet One
Sweet One

Paper Whites in Time for Thanksgiving

Found on http://pineconeplace.blogspot.com/
[Source]
I love Paper Whites and usually think about them at the end of November. Yet why not pick up some bulbs now to have gorgeous centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table?
{Source}
[Source]
They're so easy to grow and relatively inexpensive if you buy the bulbs at discount places such as The Christmas Tree Shop or Ocean State Job Lot. The plants grow in 4-6 weeks, so you'll want to get your bulbs going in the next week or so.
[Source]
[Source]
 I bought the mini trifle dish for $4.99 and the Paper Whites' kit for $3.99 at The Christmas Tree Shop. I already had the rocks so the whole ensemble cost less than $10. I know I have other vases, mason jars, and julep cups in my cupboards so I could make a really cute grouping like those you see on Pinterest.
Paper Whites DIY
Paper Whites DIY
Readying the Paper Whites
Readying the Paper Whites
Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 11.34.50 AM

Wedding Musings

#OfficiallyObara
#OfficiallyObara
My step daughter got married a week and a half ago. What a rush!  The day was simply spectacular. The wedding ceremony and reception, held at The Dunes Club in Narragansett, RI, was sublime. Simone got engaged in April and they decided on an August wedding IN THE SAME YEAR. It can be done, people, and without the help of a wedding planner. As the bride & groom, you just need to be organized (think Excel spreadsheet & Type A personalities) and have creative, trustworthy family members who will carry out your plans accordingly. I got married in 2000, just a mere 15 years ago. It did not feel that long ago, but my-oh-my how quickly times have changed. The biggest change, no surprise, SOCIAL MEDIA. Now at weddings, people use hashtags to publicize events in real time. Here is something I made to help people tweet out the happy event. The chalkboard is from Walmart.
#wedding sign by Creative Whimzy
#wedding sign by Creative Whimzy
Continue reading Wedding Musings

Facelift to a Multicolored Storage Cart

Storage Cart
Storage Cart

With a step daughter in medical school, a step daughter in college, and one daughter in high school, it's time to get rid of a number of things in our house. However, I wasn't ready to part with some of the items we purchased when the girls were small because frankly, they're still very functional. The only problem is that some of the items are too cutesy, as is, for my taste. Case in point, the 10-drawer multicolored chrome metal storage cart. How many of you have something like this?

Rust-oleum Spray Paint
Rust-oleum Matte Citron
Rust-oleum Pure Gold
Rust-oleum Pure Gold
Since I'm still on my spray painting kick, I decided to paint the metal frame with Rust-Oleum's  Pure Gold and the drawers in Rust-Oleum's Matte Citron. I had to remove the drawers and thoroughly wash the frame and drawers. I also unscrewed all of the knobs to spray them to match the frame. I bought five cans of the Matte Citron and sprayed approximately 3 coats over the drawers. The darker colored drawers needed a bit more attention. Like all good DIYs, things don't always go as planned. I didn't love the finished product. Then, my muse (my daughter), suggested I use chalkboard paint so that I could write on the drawers directly to label them. This is why two heads are often better than one! The project obviously took a little longer than planned because then I painted over the citron.
Rust-oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint
Rust-oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint
Plastic Drawers
Plastic Drawers
  My newly revamped storage cart will hold the marketing materials for a new job I recently started. I make regular donations to the Salvation Army, but this is one piece I'm glad I decided to hang on to!
cart 2
Revamped Storage Cart