DIY: Gallery Wall

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With all of the toys Ellie has, she gets the most joy from the simplest things. A couple of weeks ago, we were outside playing and she had the time of her life climbing on and off a wicker chair on our back patio. The moment was so cute, I took pictures of her reactions, and when I realized how many photos I had I knew they would make the perfect photo gallery on the wall at the top of our second floor stairs.

The wall is the first thing you see at the top of the floor and I’ve wanted to put something there for a while, I just didn’t know what. I debated between canvas and picture frames and decided on frames so I could easily change the photos out as Ellie gets older. I found this frame set on several web sites and loved how the champagne color accented our tan walls.

 

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I needed two sets to accommodate all the pictures I had. I knew I might have two or three frames left over but figured I could use them somewhere else. This set is a lot bigger than it seems. The largest frame is 11×14 and the smallest is 8×8, so it didn’t take as many of them to fill the wall as I expected. I ordered pictures in the sizes I needed from Shutterfly, and once I had them in the frames I laid them out on the floor in front of the wall to figure out how I wanted to put them up.

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Andrew likes to use a level and tape measure to hang pictures, but I’m more of a “nail holes now, fill them later” kind of girl. It took me a couple extra nail holes to get it right, but I knew they would be covered by the frames. I’m so happy with how the collage turned out. I didn’t want to configure the frames into a perfect square or rectangle, I wanted them to look sort-of unplanned because that was what the moments in the pictures were–completely spontaneous.

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DIY: Peel & Stick Kitchen Backsplash

I’ve wanted a kitchen backsplash since we moved into our house over two years ago, but I could never commit to a tile I liked enough to make a permanent change to our house. I had never considered peel and stick tile either–I thought it would look like a sticker on our walls, so when I saw these peel and stick mosaic Smart Tiles at Home Depot, I was surprised by how much I liked them.

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The more I thought about it, the more I realized the peel and stick design could be a perfect fit for us. We didn’t have any of the tools or materials needed to do a regular tile backsplash, we had almost no experience installing a backsplash, and I wasn’t sure I would want to have the same tile two or three years from now. I decided to give it a try, and with Andrew’s help, we have a kitchen backsplash that we both love but can easily remove when we get tired of it.

The application process was fairly easy. We used TSP to wipe the walls down and let them dry, and we used a fabric cutting board and a utility knife we had on hand to cut around outlets and other odd areas. Andrew’s precision paid off when it came time to cut the pieces that went around the window.

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Overall, it was a really easy process and I think it looks great. When I look at it, I don’t immediately think, “oh, that’s a sticker.” I really liked that we could take our time installing the tiles; we didn’t have drying cement to worry about so we were able to put the them up at our own pace and in between playing with Ellie. All we have to do to remove them is run a hair dryer over the tiles and they’ll peel off without taking off the paint. I estimate this project cost us about 50% of what putting up a tile backsplash would have and I definitely recommend this as an easy project for first-timers.

 

DIY: Artificial Succulent Planter

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I’ve been a long time fan of using succulents as a house plant because the upkeep is so easy, but I made two succulent planters from real plants last year that I still couldn’t manage to keep alive! Maybe I gave them too much love…or water. They also attracted gnats, which we HATED. Andrew has had to talk me out of getting real plants again so many times this year, so I finally broke down and said I would get fake ones instead.

I’ve been seeing fake succulent planters everywhere. They’ve become so popular, they aren’t difficult to find, but my problem with them is that they look fake. When I saw these beautiful, real-looking plants at Joann this week, I knew I could make a planter that would look like the real thing. This project was SO easy and cost about the same as buying one.

I bought 10 or 11 assorted succulents on sale at Joann for $3-$5 apiece and a green Desert Foam rectangular brick to hold the plants in place inside the planter. The planter I used was 9 inches in diameter, so I cut the foam insert to size and placed it inside the planter before adding the plants.

I found this extremely cute planter at Home Depot for $17.98. I looks like something I would have paid twice as much for at Anthropologie. I love it!

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Once I inserted all of the plants into the Desert Foam, I was done! It was as simple as that. I’m so happy with how it turned out, and I can’t believe how REAL it looks!

 

DIY: Baby Sunflower Costume

Fun fact about Ellie: she absolutely hates wearing anything on her head. I have so many cute headbands that go unused, so I knew early on that her first Halloween costume would need to be free of anything that required a headpiece.

I had pretty much already decided I wanted to make her first costume and chose the sunflower because it seemed like it would be an easy for project for a beginner like me.

It’s usually pretty cold in Ohio by Halloween, so I started by finding a green long-sleeved bodysuit and green tights on Amazon.  Both were supposed to be Kelly Green, but the color of the tights ended up being a lot lighter than the bodysuit. I had planned to dye the tights to match the top but I never got around to it, and I was planning to put her in the terra cotta pot anyway, so I figured no one would really see them.

Next I made my first ever tutu using this no-sew tutu-orial (haha, get it?) that I found on Pinterest to represent sunflower leaves. I picked three colors of tulle just like the post recommended and it turned out pretty similar. It was beginner friendly and I recommend it as a good no-sew tutu.


The tough part was figuring out how to make the sunflower petals. I used four sheets of yellow felt for the large petals, three sheets of dark yellow felt for the small petals, and a yard each of matching glitter tulle overlaid on top of them. I made templates for each petal size for consistent cuts. I folded the petals on the bias and used a sewing machine to stitch them together. Lastly, I stitched them to a ribbon that could easily be tied around Ellie’s neck. I used some brown fur I found at Joann as a collar.

This project wasn’t cheap. I had almost nothing I needed to make the costume, so I ended up spending about $60 (plus the cost of a sewing machine, which I consider an investment). I could have bought a sunflower costume for about $40, but it was important to me to make her first costume and I improved my skills along the way, so I consider it a success.

DIY: Ikea Spice Rack Bookshelves

From the time I found out I was pregnant with Ellie, I began imagining her nursery, adventure-themed and filled with books on a front-facing bookshelf. I had my eye on this bookrack from Pottery Barn Kids for the longest time but I could never justify the $190 price tag. Here are a few pics of her nursery we’ve taken over the last few months.

Ellie is 10 months old now and has accumulated SO MANY books, but still no bookshelves, so I checked Pinterest for ideas and came across this Ikea hack using $4 Ikea spice racks as bookshelves. I’ve never been a big DIY’er–I pin a lot of DIY ideas, but never actually do them, lol. BUT the project seemed simple enough so I thought I would give it a try.

I started by ordering eight Bekvam spice racks from Ikea’s website. The closest store is two hours away, so it was nice to be able to have them shipped. Including shipping, I paid $45, which i considered a bargain compared to the Pottery Barn bookrack. Below is what they look like in the package on the left, what the disassembled parts look like in the middle and what the rack looks like assembled on the right.

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The only color option is natural wood and I wanted white shelves, so I used a can of extra white semi-gloss and some foam brushes that we already had at home. The Pinterest post used spray paint, but I read that she had to spray four or five coats to completely cover the wood and I’m too lazy for that. I painted two coats, sanding before painting and after the first coat using some 150 grit sandpaper that we also already had.

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Once the shelves were painted, they were ready for hanging. The racks come ready to hang but they do not include mounting hardware. We picked up these drywall anchors at Lowe’s and they worked great. We used screws where we had access to studs and used the anchors where we didn’t have studs.

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Andrew was nice enough to hang them for me–four rows and two shelves per row– and we’re both really happy with the results. We had a lot of the materials we needed on hand, so it only cost $50 to add a feature I know Ellie will benefit from for a long time. Overall, it was an easy project and I definitely recommend it for a budget-friendly shelf idea.