Monday, July 30, 2012

DIY Door Handle Upgrade

One aspect of my home decor I've always loathed are these sweet gold door handles.  The door handles are standard builders grade for the developments in Arizona and I really can't stand them.  I'm not a gold girl... well, at least on my doors. :)

So, a plan hatched to give them a makeover.  It truly is so simple to achieve a {HUGE} aesthetic change around your house and even better, it's inexpensive. 

First, with any DIY project, you should price out your project.  Sometimes it really is cheaper and less stressful to buy the retail item or pay a professional.  So time for some math!

Items to be changed: 9 Doors, 3 Closet Doors, Two Door Locks (Dead Bolts). 

Materials to Purchase:
Spray Paint with Primer and Spray Nozzle (for comfort) ~~~ $7.50 each
....................................................................... Need 3  ~~~ $22.50
Sand Sponges (80 gt, easier to use than sandpaper)...... ~~~ $3.00 each
....................................................................... Need 2  ~~~ $6.00

Materials I Had:
Cardboard Boxes and Posterboard
Needle Nose Pliers
Philips Head Screwdriver

Total Cost for DIY Project: under $30.00


Oil Rubbed Bronze Door Handle Replacements from Home Depot

Door Handles..............................................................  ~~~ $25.00 each
....................................................................... Need 9  ~~~ $225.00
Closet Door Circle Handles.........................................  ~~~ $6.50 for two
....................................................................... Need 3  ~~~ $19.50
Dead Bolt Locks.........................................................  ~~~ $30.00 each
....................................................................... Need 2  ~~~ $60.00

Total Cost for Home Depot Project: about $304.50

Total {SAVINGS} for DIY Project: about $274.50

Now!  Let's show you how stinking easy it was!


1.  Remove the circular closet door handles.  Use needle nose pliers to grip edge of circle lip.  Hold bottom part of door with knee and top with hand to provide resistance.  Pull straight out toward you - parallel to the ground.

2.   Using your phillips head screw driver, remove the door handle.  Most doors have exposed screws on the inside (room side) of the door.  If you do not, Google is a great way to find out how to remove yours.  If you've never done this before, follow the pictures below.
 To fully remove handle, you may have to push in the latch to release the metal.
3.  Don't forget to remove the strike plate from the wall.

 Finish removing from all your doors and you will have a nice big bucket of hardware!

4.  Sand all of your hardware.  Don't skip this step!!!  Don't worry - this doesn't take as long as you would think.  You just need to mark up the surface enough to ensure spray paint has something to grip too and doesn't just slide across the surface of the handles (this causes that ugly wave/bubble effect).

5.  Prep for painting.  I'm a big fan of recycling cardboard boxes and posterboards for spray painting.  Cardboard boxes are perfect for punching the hardware through so your items stand upright.  I didn't need to make any cuts to help the handles through... they just popped right in.

**Something I messed up on that I would like to save you the trouble with...
Be sure to spray paint your handles standing on their faces first so you get the backside of the handles.  THEN punch them into the box to stand upright.  It will take about an hour or so for the first side to dry but it will save you a lot of time, stress and odds of ruining your handle in the long run.

 6.  Take outside to well-ventilated area and spray! spray! spray!
 This is the exact spray I used from Home Depot

 7.  Allow to dry for about an hour and then check for touch ups.

8.  Once all sprayed, exercise a heavy dose of patience.  Attempting to put the hardware back onto your doors prior to being fully dry can cause the paint to scratch, dent or stick together (remember the door jamb).  Just think of this like waiting for your nails to dry after you've painted them - disaster if you don't wait long enough.

9.  When all your pieces are dry, put your house back together!

 You're all done!  You are OFFICIALLY a DIY-er!
Sit back and enjoy your handy work!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Melted Crayon Art - The Cheap and Easy Way

All over the internet, you will find melted crayon art.  Some are as simple as the feature above, while other are more elaborate and creative like this one below.

When I first saw this project online, I knew I had to do it.  However, I didn't want to use (and possibly burn up) my hairdryer or that much electricity for the artwork.  Also... who wants to hold a hairdryer for that long?  I decided to use the abundant natural resources I have and let the hot summer sun do the melting for me - bonus, I was able to just sit back and watch as the piece took shape.

{Extra bonus - this version is kid-friendly!}

Another great thing about planning the project during late summer (the hottest time of the year), most stores are stocking school supplies.  I was able to buy my boxes of crayons for 30 cents each.  Michaels also had a sale on canvases.

The total price of my project was less than $10 for all three pieces below.  No hidden electricity costs!

Canvases (my large one is 24"x18", small ones are 10"x10")
Crayons (I used 4 boxes total)
Hot Glue Gun
Plastic Trash Bags
Lots of Sunshine

1.  Determine the number of crayons you will need to complete your design and how you want them laid out.  I've seen pictures with all bright tones or all dark tones.  I opted for a rainbow pattern and eliminated the white, brown, black and gray crayons.

2.  Once laid out, hot glue the crayons in place.  You don't need a lot of glue on theses.  I did two strips of glue about 2 inches apart and placed the crayons.  Once the crayons melt, they will ensure long-term adhesion.

3.  Set up your work space outside.  If you have space along a wall (brick, stucco, wood), it's best to prop the piece up against it.  The wall will radiate heat to the backside of the piece, speeding up the process.  If you don't, don't worry!  Your piece will still melt.
You do need to prop your piece up against something (a wall, chair, brick).  If it is not propped, it will not streak downward.  You'll just get a big puddle of color in the middle of the canvas (hey!-there's an idea!)  Line the ground with your trash bags to catch any run-off of the crayon.
4.  Sit and wait.  The Arizona sun did quick work on my piece, but depending on your location, how much direct sun is hitting the piece, and your humidity level, it may take a little while.
**REMEMBER:  Your dark colors will melt faster than your lighter colors.  If you want to avoid uneven melting or at least slow down the darker colors, put the darker crayons under some form of shade.

5.  When the canvas has melted to your liking, take inside for cooling.  I laid my design on a clean trash bag on the kitchen table.  It should only take about 10-15 minutes to fully cool.

6.  Now it's time for hanging!
I call this
"Tantrum: A Childhood Meltdown"

Get creative with your designs.  We created this piece for our library and wanted matching pieces for a smaller wall.  We didn't want to exactly replicate the larger piece though, so I put the crayons on a slant.  It proved to be a great way to incorporate additional pieces without being redundant.

Happy Melting!

Friday, July 20, 2012

First Day of School Photos

While many kids around the country are soaking up their midsummer weather (wearing sunscreen, I hope), Arizona kids on year-round schedules are gearing up to head back to school.  Now, I don't have kids, but I do have a household member who returns to school every July.  My husband is a high school teacher and, since I don't have kids to embarrass, I make sure to annoy him by taking a "First Day of School" picture every year. 

One great example is this:

I love this picture because he looks like he's wearing MC Hammer pants.  It's a great reminder of how hard he worked to lose some excess weight over the summer... and that we forgot to buy him new pants for the school year.  Ah, memories.

If your kids are starting school soon, check out these great ideas for First Day of School photos!

Hold Up a Sign
(You can make your own or the link below has free printables)

Collage of Pictures
(Great for getting pictures of backpacks and other school supplies)


(Take picture and have kids answer questions about themselves)

Sign/Survey Combo
(This one is my favorite!  Sign and Survey all in one!)

Happy Pinning!!!

Follow My "For the Kiddies" board on Pinterest
to stay up-to-date on all my favorite things for kids!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sewing Kit Makeover

I have struggled for years to find the perfect sewing kit.  Either they are too frilly or too graphic.  Out of nowhere, there is this trend of mismatched sides and tops.  I couldn't find one that really suited my Creative Cubby and style.

Until... one day, I wandered through the clearance section at Jo-Ann and stumbled upon this kit - marked down from $40 to $12.

I'm not a flowers girl.  I'm just not.  But I love plaid and this color scheme was perfect.  So I snatched it up!

I found this wonderful cross stitch pattern on Everything Cross Stitch (find it here).  I adjusted the aida size so it will fit on the top of the box.  The pattern calls for 14ct. aida.  I stitched it on 18 ct. aida.

Once I finished the designs, I simply did some basic folding and gluing to the top of the kit.  I used fabric glue under the design and hot glue along the edges.  Ta-da!!!  My dream sewing kit!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Scrapbook Paper Organization

There are about a million different ways to organize your scrapbook paper.  It took me a while to figure out what really works for me.  I am the type of person that knows exactly what I'm looking for and I want to be able to grab it instantly.  Therefore, a hyper-organized scrapbook paper drawer is ideal for me.

I have the storage cube system from Michael's in my craft room.  I simply purchased 1 large file drawer and a few sets of the corresponding file folders.

I organized my papers first by season, then by holiday, a few random categories, and finally, by color.  The tabs are stickable tabs from Staples and I used my best friend {my label maker} to keep the labels clean and uniform.  (See my full list of labels below.)

Here are my labels:
St Patricks

I'm sure once I have children or I find a big need for it, I'll add a few more categories.
Some others to consider:

Happy Organizing!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fourth of July Round-Up

Despite the rain and clouds, we had a blast celebrating Independence Day. 
Our house was very festive and filled with the 3 F's 
{family, friends, and food}. 
Check out some of the highlights from our party! 
(Through the eyes of Instagram!)

We're true patriots in this house.
A warning to our guests.

Homemade Firework
Ribbons and garland hot glued to floral form (cone, upside-down)

Silhouettes with Betsy Ross flag

 I decorated every corner of the house...
Including the bathroom

 "America" Banner

 Fourth of July Celebration Cups

You are never too old to play with sparklers!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable Independence Day!!!
Can't wait for next year!
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