Projects

Simple butterfly wall decoration

My daughter loves butterflies, so today I decided to make a simple butterfly wall hanging for her based on this pin I found on Pinterest. I can’t find the origin of the pin as the link no longer works, so I just decided to create my own version and share it with you here.For the base of the wall hanging, I saved a cool stick Lillian found on one of our walks, which I think adds an extra personal touch. From there I cut out a few different butterfly shapes in three shades of pink to create a bit of an ombre look (I used my cricut to cut my butterflies, but you could do them by hand if you have more patience than me!). Other supplies I grabbed to use were string, little eyelets I had leftover from my DIY Jewelry Holder craft, double-sided tape, and scissors.I started by arranging my butterflies in a way I thought looked nice, and then I added little bitty pieces of the double-sided tape to the middle of the backs. Then I added different lengths of string to each set of butterflies before putting the eyelets in place on the stick.From there I just knotted the strings of butterflies to the respective eyelets, added two more eyelets on top of the stick, and tied a string on each of the top two eyelets for hanging the decoration up!For months we’ve been singing songs about butterflies, searching for them outdoors (or at Frederik Meijer Gardens when they were “in bloom”), and looking at them in pictures and books. We even did a cute butterfly hand print craft a few months ago, and I added some pretty butterfly stickers from our local craft store to the wall in her room, which I think actually look really nice (pictures below)! Now we have one more sweet little butterfly decoration for her room, and it was made completely with supplies I had on hand in less than an hour. I call that a win!Have you made any fun and easy decorations lately?
xx Caitlyn

Projects

Floral Letter DIY

So last summer I decided I wanted to make a pretty floral letter “L” for Lillian’s room, and this spring I finally got around to making it! (Oh gosh, I guess that’s how projects go sometimes when you’re a new parent!) I decided I would try to approach this project in a similar fashion to the beautiful autumn wreath I made a few years ago (oh, and the pretty little wreath my niece and I made together!).

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First I gathered my supplies: a foam letter “L” from the craft store, flowers from the dollar store, a glue gun and hot glue, scissors, floral wire cutters, craft paper and ribbon. Then I removed the flowers and some of the leaves from the stems using my wire cutters and scissors.File_001
Originally I started wrapping the ribbon around my letter in the same way I did with the wreaths I made, but I became kind of impatient fast because it was harder to do on a letter than on a round wreath. It occurred to me that the front of the “L” would be covered in flowers, and you wouldn’t ever see ribbon on the back of the letter, anyway. Then I thought, why not just trace the letter onto paper and glue the paper on the back? And that’s what I did. File_002
After getting the paper glued to the back of my letter, I made a general arrangement of where I wanted certain colors in bunches before I began to glue them on with my hot glue gun. File_003
Then I added leaves to a few places in the arrangement, adding additional leaves all around the edges of the letter in case any foam was showing. File_004
The back isn’t perfect, but who is going to see the back? I mean, you’re obviously seeing it now, but you get my point ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  I used a picture hanging strip to on the back to attach the letter to the wall when I was finished (just like with my DIY jewelry holder.) File_005And voila! A beautiful floral letter “L” for my sweet daughter’s room. This project only took me a little over an hour, and was so inexpensive and easy (especially when I decided not to mess with the ribbon!). Let me know if you try this project, and if you’ve made any other cool letter projects!

xx Caitlyn

Projects · Thrift Store Challenge

DIY Jewelry Holder

For many years I’ve kept my jewelry in a cosmetic travel bag. I think a big part of my reasoning was that I was always going to be moving again, so I didn’t want to bother with jewelry holders. Eventually though, enough was enough, and I decided it was finally time to pull my jewelry out of the travel bag. Inspired by a pricey (but super nice) jewelry holder, I decided to make my own. I went to the Salvation Army and bought an old $4.00 picture frame as my base. Then I bought some cup hooks, eyelets and cork board and got to work.
In the above supplies you can see my glue gun, but I was actually low on glue sticks after my air plant holder project, so I ended up using some wood glue and a staple gun for adhering the cork board. Other items I used that aren’t pictured were black paint, a paintbrush, round nose pliers and velcro damage-free hanging strips.ย 

To start, I removed the backing from the frame and measured enough cork board to fill three spaces within the frame. I didn’t notice until after I added the cork to the frame that the cork board edges were visible when looking at the frame from certain angles. I wanted a cleaner look, so I ended up painting the edges black, something that might be easier to do beforehand if you decide to make something similar!I added cup hooks along the bottom of the frame for necklaces and bracelets, and added eyelets with some round nose pliers for hook earrings. Be careful to choose a thick frame if you make this project so the wood doesn’t split from the cup hooks. Mine split a little, but I just reinforced it with wood glue and painted it black.ย Once everything was in place, I added the velcro damage-free hanging strips to the back of my frame and put it on the wall. jewelry-holderThe last (and most exciting) step was adding my jewelry. I don’t have too many stud type earrings for the cork sections of the jewelry holder, so I might tuck a little picture of Lily in the middle cork section of the frame for now. I like the frame a solid black at the moment, but it could be fun to expand the project by changing the paint color or adding fun designs with washi tape. I love that this was an easy, inexpensive project that looks pretty nice. The best part is that I can finally see what jewelry I have and start wearing more of it again!

xx Caitlyn

Projects

Air plant holder DIY

We have a really great picture window in our living room that lets sunlight pour in across the entire room. Despite the window looking directly out onto the highway, I love it, but I felt like I needed to add something to it. As I’ve already been adding lots of greenery around the house, I decided it was time to get my very first air plants.
As you may know, air plants can be pretty pricey, and if you add a container of any sort like drift wood or a ladle, etc., the price goes up even higher. Of course you can find your own drift wood or cool trinket to hold an air plant in, but I wanted something I already had access to without having to do a lot of searching. And then it came to me: baby food jars. I basically used scissors, a hot glue gun and glue, baby food jars and twine to make a pretty, gradated air plant display. You could follow the same steps with other small jars, too.
Start by measuring out a long piece of twine to hang your jar. I made three jars, so I measured three pieces at arms length to adjust and cut again later. Hot glue the end of one piece of the twine onto your jar. (I didn’t remove the icky sticky stuff on the base beforehand, but you’re welcome to if you have any residue on your jars!)
Next, wrap another piece of twine around the rim of the jar, hot gluing as you go. I did two layers of twine.
Clean up any stray hot glue strands and hang your pretty planter! I used slipknots on mine so that I could adjust the length, but you could also measure and cut. Rather than cut right at the slipknot, I left enough twine to curl down along side the other half. Then, I just added my air plants and–viola!ย 

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I loved this project because, aside from the air plants, I had everything I needed to make it right around the house. Plus, I think the jars turned out super cute and I am loving the extra greenery–especially on gloomy winter days!

xx Caitlyn

Projects · Spring Bucket List

Inspiration on the Cheap!

Well looky what I found today at my local one hundred yen shop: two really cool books for artsy types! The one on the left is a book of postcards with two per page–one already colored for reference, and another that is blank for you to color. The one on the right is full of cute paper cutting templates, printed directly on patterned paper to use. IMG_1854 IMG_1855
The paper cutting “book” has an added bonus: instructions in English! Above you can see a few examples along the edges of what you can make inside. I’m thinking I might actually make a bunch of the stencils into templates so that I can choose my favorite paper to use, and also so that I can make paper cuts I like multiple times. Can you believe this was only the equivalent of roughly $1!? I’ll update you with any projects I make using the book as inspiration.IMG_1856As for the “coloring book,” it too has instructions, including some tips on using colored pencils. This book is only in Japanese, but it’s pretty easy to get the gist from the pictures.
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Here is an example of the setup of the book. I definitely think I will try coloring some of these in the future (there were also more books in the series with flowers!), but today I decided to use the book in a different way.ย Remember how one of my Spring Bucket List assignments was to decorate my kitchen? Well, I made my photo garland, but our kitchen still needed something more. I decided some of the pretty pre-colored postcards would be nice additions to my kitchen decor, so I set to work!IMG_1858
I chose my four favorite postcards from the collection and attached them to a lonely-looking wall in the kitchen.IMG_1859
After that I just added a border of craft tape (an idea similar to the washi tape frames I made for my cute living room gallery here), and viola! I’m thinking I might redo the border with actual washi tape eventually as I had to cut the thick craft tape in half and the unevenness might drive me crazy, but we’ll see.IMG_1861
So here’s how a big part of our kitchen is looking at the moment. My new artwork on the left, a rack hanging in the back for cooking utensils (since we have only one small drawer for them otherwise), a few cookbooks, a basket for oil, spices, etc., another basket for produce, our French Press, drying dishes, cards and pictures, and my little Matryoshka (don’t mind the dirty dishes in the sink *ehem*).

I have to admit that there was a plant where the Matryoshka are, but I sort of killed it by over watering it. I also have to admit that even though this part of our kitchen looks a little cluttered, I still think overall it’s pretty cute. (Especially with my easy, cheap DIY art (just 200 yen! *woot*)!)

I have a feeling more fun is to come from these two little hundred yen shop books. Have you found any inexpensive inspiration lately? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

xx Caitlyn

Projects · Spring Bucket List

DIY Photo Garland

I am so excited to share my most recent project with you: a super easy and fun photo garland! On my Spring Bucket List, one of my goals was to decorate my kitchen in my rental apartment, so making a photo garland was one of my first steps. Here’s how I did it!IMG_1411Step One: I printed a bunch of pictures, and then prepared washi tape, die cut stickers, photo envelopes and colorful clothespins. I chose to use FLAKY STICKERS for my die cut stickers, and pre-made photo envelopes from moodsnviews, both of which I got from a local craft store. You could use pretty much anything you like, and if you can’t find pre-made photo envelopes or colorful clothespins (though I’m sure you can because I remember seeing them even back home!), they would be easy enough the make yourself!IMG_1412Step Two: I chose my pictures and started playing around with where I wanted to put my die cuts and washi tape.IMG_1413 IMG_1416Step Three: I hung up my beautiful work!

IMG_1417 IMG_1418 IMG_1419 IMG_1434I am in love with this project! I can’t decide whether I like this project or my washi tape photo wall better, but both are certainly sprucing up our place! This project cost me less than $10 USD (less than 1000 yen), and took less than 45 minutes, but I am ready to enjoy it for a long time ahead!

Talk to you soon, lovelies!
xx Caitlyn

Projects

Decorating a Rental Apartment

My, my, my, am I ever feeling pleased with my little Monday night project. You see, before leaving for Japan, I had printed some photos and random prints to use for art journaling, but I never got around to using them. After arriving in Japan, I thought some of them would be fun to hang on the wall, but how could I do it in an apartment? After all, no holes are allowed in the wall, meaning we have to be careful about even using tacks. Plus tacks can be, well, tacky.

IMG_0228As I thought about my predicament, I suddenly remembered something I’d once stumbled upon on pinterest–a solution to my problem!IMG_0229So how did I hang my pictures, you ask? Washi tape.

And what about the frames for the pictures? Washi tape.

And what was the entire solution to my predicament? Washi tape.ย  IMG_0231Look how fun the wall in our living room turned out! I absolutely love it, and plan to do a few more pictures throughout the apartment as well. (Don’t mind all the blankets–at the moment we’re sleeping in the living room, but as we acquire more furniture we will get things more and more situated!) IMG_0232 IMG_0233
Things I loved about this project:
1. It was super inexpensive! I think I probably paid about 500 yen or less for all the washi tape? (So around $5.00 USD?)
2. It isn’t permanent, meaning I could test hang my pictures and easily move them around when I was working on the project, but also that in the future I can easily switch things up!
3. I got to decorate my apartment and see pictures of people I love while I did it. (Though we have more pictures of loved ones around the house as well!)

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In the past when I lived in Japan, I had trouble with decorating our rental apartments, but I am happy to say that this time around I’m getting ideas to make our little place more homey every day. I’ve started a new pinterest board about living in smaller and/or more temporary places that is sure to start growing. Looking forward to sharing future posts about sprucing up our apartment, too!

Have you ever used washi tape for decorating? What are some fun ways you’ve decorated a temporary space?

Have a lovely week!
xxCaitlyn