Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

My kids’ after-school schedules are insane. The biggest problem is my oldest daughter’s show choir commitment. Her director throws a dart at the calendar for rehearsal dates then decides pick-up times based on the number of eggs in her refrigerator that morning. (Who’s sarcastic?) And of course when one kid’s schedule changes the dominoes topple until nobody knows when they’re coming home or how they’re getting there.

So of course I turned to Pinterest for organizational inspiration. I found gobs of “command centers” but they were too complicated for my needs. I wanted to design something just as functional but on a much smaller scale. Here’s what I did.

1. Started with a thrift store frame.

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

2. Bought a piece of foam core and cut it to fit. Cost me $3.

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

3. Found a piece of plexi-glass to fit.
Since my frame wasn’t a standard size I couldn’t find a cheap piece of glass to fit. Instead, I stole a piece of flimsy plexi-glass from an old poster frame stashed in my basement. It wasn’t my first choice but it was free and easy to cut so I went with it.

4. Next I tested some fabric options by placing them under the plexi and writing on them.
I needed to make sure the pattern didn’t make it hard to read the messages.

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

5. I used scrapbook adhesive to wrap the fabric around the foam core, making sure to keep everything square and smooth. Double stick tape would work just as well.

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

Almost done.

6. I designed a simple “how am I getting home today?” calendar and “where the heck is mom?” message center, and stuck them to the fabric-wrapped foam core. 
I decided to print them on vellum paper (from the scrapbooking section of any craft store) so the fabric pattern would still show through. I used Zots in each corner of the paper to stick the pages to the fabric. And yes, that does say, “walking a dog”. It’s one of my random jobs.

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

7. I decided at the last minute to add a piece of ribbon between the two sections. Forgot to take a picture. Ooops.

Finally, it was time to put everything together. This part was a little tricky but once I figured out a system it went pretty smoothly.

8. I drilled small holes into the inside edges of the frame – on the back where you would put the backing on a regular frame.
I didn’t go very deep, just enough to hold a nail in place while I tapped it in. I used this little hand crank drill thingy we have.

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

9. Then, with all the pieces sandwiched together in the frame, I carefully hammered a small brad nail into each starter hole.
I had to hammer at a little bit of an angle so afterwards I just bent the nail down toward the foam core to hold everything tight. Not very sophisticated but it works.

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

And VOILA! It’s done. (Sorry about the reflections.)

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

Simple Dry Erase Calendar & Memo Board | laughingabi.com

This post is part of the Pinterest Challenge over on Young House Love. Make sure you check out all the other link ups HERE.

pinterest winter-challenge

Also, here are links to the projects on Pinterest that inspired this whole thing. Make sure you take a look at them too.

sas interiors

Hi Sugar Plum

The Caldwell Project

24 Cottonwood Lane

How do you keep all the people in your house going to the right places every day? Do you have your own version of a “command center”?

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T is for Tree Mural: A-Z Blog Challenge

A couple weeks ago I posted a picture of the “fashion girls” mural I painted on my daughters’ bedroom wall, and I promised to show you the mural that took its place. Here it is!

tree wall mural

The design is based on a picture my daughter found in this book, A Guide to Pixie Hollow, which explains some of my “artistic” choices. For example, you might think I painted random gold, glittery, vertical stripes in the trunk but those are actually pixie dust waterfalls. (This tree is where the pixie dust is created.)

tree wall mural

And those mysterious things stuck on the tree trunk? Those are the fairies’ houses. They light up at night and cast fun shadows across the wall.

tree wall mural

When I was done painting and stapling up all those branches I decided to add some patio lights to finish off the whole thing. See my baby snuggled up in her Tinkerbell bed tent under there?

tree wall mural

This was my first attempt at painting a tree and while I’m really pleased with how it turned out, it was a big challenge for me. Anyone out there done this before? Thinking about giving it a try? I would love to hear from you.

Q is for Quote On The Wall: A-Z Blog Challenge

Long, long ago in a land before Uppercase Living and Cricut machines, I wanted a quote on my kitchen soffit. I decided to test my DIY skills and freehand it. Here are the results.

quote on the wall

quote on the wall

quote on the wall

quote on the wall

Photobucket

quote on the wall

quote on the wall

In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria.

I’ve considered re-doing it using some of today’s new tools to make it look more professional and polished. But I always decide against it. There’s just something I love about knowing I did it all by myself!

P is for “Peace, Love & Shoes” Pillow: A-Z Blog Challenge

This started as a plain, inexpensive body pillow from Sam’s Club. All I did was tweak it a little for my daughter’s room.

peace love shoes pillow

It was a really simple project. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos but here’s a quick description.

1. Carefully open a side seam far enough so you can remove the stuffing and easily work with the fabric.
2. Use chalk to draw your shapes on a piece of felt and cut them out.
3. Pin felt cut-outs to front of pillow.
4. Top-stitch around outside edges of felt shapes. (Slowly & carefully!)
5. Restuff pillow and sew closed.

Tada! I love taking a cheap, boring thing and totally personalizing it to fit my home

This post is number 16 in a series of 26 inspired by the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Click over and see all the amazing bloggers working their way through the alphabet in April.

M is for Memo Board: A-Z Blog Challenge

I find these memo boards all the time at stores like Target, Kohl’s or Bed Bath & Beyond.

memo board

Unfortunately, they never seem to be the right color or size for my space. So I decided to make my own. I wish I could say I have a tutorial to share but I made them long, long ago, before I even knew what a blog was. I can tell you I used a painter’s canvas for the board and a piece of remnant fleece for the padding. (I’m posting pics of two different boards I made – one for each kid.)

memo board

memo board

My favorite part of the project is the decorative brads I found at the scrapbooking store. They made the project much easier and much cuter.

memo board

memo board

memo board

Again, my apologies for the lack of instructions. I need to recover both of these boards because my daughters’ tastes have changed so much since I originally made them. I promise to take lots of pics and post a tutorial then. Promise.

This post is number 13 in a series of 26 inspired by the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Click over and see all the amazing bloggers working their way through the alphabet in April.

L is for Litter Box (Yes, Litter Box): A-Z Blog Challenge

We have two cats, one for each daughter. It wasn’t until we brought them home that I realized there were only two uncarpeted places to put the litter box.

1. Next to the front door – After all, nothing says “Welcome to our home” like the warm aroma of cat urine.
2. In the kitchen – As a general rule I like to minimize any confusion between the smell of my cooking and the smell of cat poo.

Since I couldn’t talk the Hubs into tearing up all the carpet and installing hardwood floors, we came up with this kitty cat outhouse. It’s located in our garage with a kitty door leading in and out of the house. We also included a hinged gate on the side so when it’s time for poo scooping you can open the gate, slide the litter box out, scoop, and return everything back to its place.

L is for Litter Box

L is for Litter Box

L is for Litter Box

L is for Litter Box

Hubs built the frame out of scrap lumber then I wrapped the whole thing in chicken wire. It’s attached to the garage wall with simple hook lock thingys like you see on the door. We had to install a little shelf so the kitties wouldn’t fall and break a leg every time they had to pee. And we also placed some scrap MDF boards over the top so we could store things there. (Yes that is a patched hole under the shelf where I cut the drywall in the wrong place.)

Inside, the kitty door fits discreetly between the front entry and the staircase. Most people don’t ever notice it. More importantly, they don’t notice the smell of two very healthy, very regular kitty cats living there.

L is for Litter Box

L is for Litter Box

Do you have a clever way of storing pet supplies? Or a special place for your pet to sleep or play?

This post is number 12 in a series of 26 inspired by the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Click over and see all the amazing bloggers working their way through the alphabet in April.

Upcycled Knit Sweater Pillow Cover

I’m kicking myself right now for not taking a picture of my sweater before I chopped it into a million pieces. A found something similar to help you get an idea of how awesome this project really is. Kinda like this one but with no zipper or hood. And with a beautiful circle pattern knitted into the back. And longer. Other than that, they’re exactly the same.

Upcycled Knit Sweater Pillow Cover

It was originally from White House Black Market but I found it at a resale shop for $12!

Upcycled Knit Sweater Pillow Cover

I started out by simply wrapping the sweater around my down pillow insert and trimming off the sleeves. (I’m happy to report that the whole thing did not unravel into a fat pile of white yarn as I feared.) Then I attempted to sew up the holes I had made. It looked like crap. Like a sweater with the sleeves cut off. I had nothing to lose at this point so I just kept working. It had to turn into something eventually, right? After a couple hours of cutting, stitching, trimming, cussing, ripping out stitches, and drinking vodka, I came up with this.

Upcycled Knit Sweater Pillow Cover

Upcycled Knit Sweater Pillow Cover

Nice, right? See the circle pattern I was telling you about? I love the texture on my red leather chair. Yummy.

This obviously wasn’t a quick, easy project. Sometimes DIY is messy and complicated that way. Usually I refer to it as “a learning experience” but this time I’m gonna keep it real and call it what it was – a pain in the ass.

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet

My favorite kind of project is one that makes things beautiful and organized. That’s what happened with this garage sale cupboard turned jewelry storage cabinet .

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

I started by cutting a piece of foam core to size and wrapping it with a neutral-colored fabric. Nothing fancy, I just wrapped the corners like a gift and used some packing tape to hold it all together. Then I wedged the whole thing in the back of the cabinet.

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

I don’t remember where I got these hooks, just that they were on clearance and I knew exactly what I wanted to use them for. Most likely it was Target or K-Mart. Not sure if you can tell from the pics but each one has a large push-pin on the back.

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com Photobucket

The next step is pretty self-explanatory. Stick the hooks in the foam core and hang the necklaces. (Please ignore the ugly hole at the top. I’m going to fix it.)

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

A few more details and it’s done.

Some white ceramic trays from yet another garage sale hold my few rings and bracelets.

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

A second piece of foam core wrapped in the same neutral fabric and velcroed to the side holds earrings on T-pins.

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

One last piece of foam core wrapped in some scrap upholstory fabric for a pretty background and a few accessories.

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

Voila!

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

Upcycled Jewelry Storage Cabinet | laughingabi.com

Right now it sits on top of my dresser but I plan to hang it on the wall soon. I love that it neatly stores all of my jewelry and puts it on display at the same time. Beautiful, useful, and inexpensive. That’s a DIY hat-trick.

My First Fabric Dye Experience

I want to start by saying if you have never dyed fabric before, start small. Things like scarves or onesies or socks would be perfect. A slipcover for an oversized chair? Not such a good idea for the first-timer. Now, on with the story.

I scored this IKEA chair at a thrift shop for $50. YEA!

My First Fabric Dye Experience | laughingabi.com

Nothing fancy but cheap, and since the whole thing was slipcovered I thought I could do something cool with fabric dye. I’d never dyed anything before but how hard could it be, right? (See where this is going, friends?)

When I got it home I decided I would dye it dark brown and then sew some colorful or patterned covers for the removable cushions. Here’s the disastrous result.

My First Fabric Dye Experience | laughingabi.com

I don’t know if you can tell from the picture but it’s almost purple. Or maroon. Definitely not brown. And see the big stain on the bottom? I knew it was there but thought I washed it out before I dyed it. I was wrong.

So I checked out ritdye.com and found out there’s this stuff called color-remover. Unfortunately, most of the reviews said it only worked using the stove-top method. Which means fitting the whole slipcover in a pot, on top of my stove. Not gonna happen.

Since I had nothing to lose at this point I decided I would use hot, hot water in my bathtub instead of boiling water on my stove-top. This is how it looked after the color-remover. Insert panic here.

My First Fabric Dye Experience | laughingabi.com

Thankfully some more online research revealed that this brown-yellow tint was normal after using the color remover. Phew! So now all I had to to was find the perfect color so I could salvage this project.

After literally days of researching and agonizing and driving my family insane, I decided to go with a tealish-bluey-greenlike color. I created my own custom mix using 75% teal and 25% royal blue. (ritdye.com has a great Color Formula Guide if you’re trying to mix colors. I didn’t use any of their formulas but they did help me make my decision.)

After what seemed like forever in the washer, I opened the door to find a very, very green slip cover. It was 1:00 in the morning and I was pissed so I layed everything out to dry and went to bed. When I woke up I found the most perfect tealish-bluey-greenlike colored slipcover I had ever seen. Apparently my middle-of-the-night dye madness made me forget wet fabric is not necessarily the same color as dry fabric.

My First Fabric Dye Experience | laughingabi.com

My First Fabric Dye Experience | laughingabi.com

My First Fabric Dye Experience | laughingabi.com

The ugly stain is still there but I’m working on a creative solution to that. Also, the pattern on the back cushion is a couple fabric bands I made to dress up some throw pillows. I put them on to see how they looked and decided to keep them there. Poor naked pillows.

Here are some trial & error tips:
1. Start small! (See the first sentence of this post.)
2. Resist the temptation to put your newly dyed slipcover in the dryer. I know you’re in a hurry to see the finished product but shrinkage is BAD.
3. Do your research. Check blogs, google, ritdye.com – anywhere you can find information.

This was a challenging project but I’m really pleased with the way it turned out. Do you have a project you thought would kill you before you finished it? Please share. Misery loves company!

H is for Halloween Silhouettes: A-Z Blog Challenge

Forgive the re-post but these witches are one of my favorite projects ever. (You can see the original post here with more instructions and tips.) They hang in the front windows of my house every October. I made them using a roll of black paper and a pattern from Better Homes & Gardens. I won’t lie and tell you it was a quick or easy project but the result was worth the effort.

H is for Halloween witch silhouettes
H is for Halloween witch silhouettes

Tip: After you finish cutting out your martini drinking witches consider laminating them to protect your hard work. You may have to cut them apart to fit through the laminator but don’t panic. Just piece them back together in your window and no one will be able to tell. (I cut the arms off mine and ran them through the laminator at my daughters’ elementary school.)

This post is #8 in a series of 26 inspired by the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Click over and see all the amazing bloggers working their way through the alphabet in April.