Thursday, October 27, 2011

FGI - Frugal Gift Ideas @ Full of Great Ideas

I am sitting here grinning from ear to ear, giggling at one of the dumbest things...I realized I could use the abbreviation FGI and it applies both to Frugal Gift Ideas and Full of Great Ideas. Isn't it funny how such small things can make me act like a child?

Well, I decided a couple of days ago to create one page on my blog dedicated to all things Gifts. As you know the majority of what I do is frugal (aka cheap) so this new page will not disappoint you. There are over 20 frugal, DIY gift ideas and not one is over $30.

I have organized all the gifts I have made over the past year and sorted them by cost to make. The cost is how much I feel you would have to pay if you have nothing in your craft stash. If you are anything like me, you have way too much crafting materials hidden away (so your significant other doesn't see it all and then ask why you are buying more) and you will be able to make these gifts for significantly less.

I know the majority of you are not planning your Christmas list yet, but I am. All of us up here in the Great White North have already had our Thanksgiving, so all we have between now and Christmas is Halloween and that is not a big event in our house.  So Christmas is my main focus.

I am having a big debate with myself as to what I should do this holiday season regarding gifts and this blog. As I do most years, I am planning on making many of the gifts we will give. Here is my problem; the people I make these gifts for i.e. family, friends and teachers, all read this blog. How can I post my ideas so you can make them before Christmas, without those who will be receiving them seeing them in advance? I might just have to ban all I know from peaking.

I have some great items in the works and will start posting homemade Christmas gift ideas soon, so stop by in the next week to see if the ideas are something you too can use.

Be sure to check out the new FGI - Frugal Gift Ideas page.

Happy 'Homemade' Gifting.
Stephanie

P.S. I will put the date I updated the FGI page at the top so you can quickly see if anything has been added since you visited last. I hope this makes it a little easier than scrolling down every time to see if something is new. If you have any suggestions on this, I would love to hear them.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wedding Date Art

I realize it is only October, but I have been working hard to get names checked off my Christmas gift list for a couple of weeks. I was so excited with my most recent project, I could not wait until November or December to share this with all of you.

The most popular post I have posted on Full of Great Ideas was my absolute favorite project, my Name and Est. art. It is my fall back gift. I have given it to friends, family, teachers, daycare, etc. I have even changed it so that it is a baby announcement for my recently born nephew. Well, when my brother was married I knew I wanted to make him one but I wanted it to be unique. Not only because everyone in our family has one like mine but also because his last name doesn't fit as nicely.

I remember seeing something on Pinterest that I loved, but as you know, if you don't Pin it while you see it you will not find it again. I knew the image I saw was similar to the baby announcement but had a photo on the top.

So here is what I created first:
 Then I thought I would try sepia:
 And lastly, my personal favorite, black and while:
I used the same technique as I did with the name/est. art. Here are the links to the Leo Reynolds site where you will find the letters and numbers.

When you find a number you like, make sure you open it fully before saving or inserting it.  When you are looking at the page of 50 or so small images, click on the image you like to make it larger, then right click on the image and select 'View Medium 640' or bigger. Once the new image opens you can drag and drop from this screen ..but if that doesn't work, right click on it again and select 'save image as'. Save the letter/number to a place on your computer where you can find it. Open the Publisher file and 'insert', 'picture', 'from file'. Find the letter/number on your computer and select it. Adjust the image size to fit.

Once you are happy with the design, save the image as a high resolution JPEG (to do this in Publisher follow theses steps: 'Save As', 'Save as type', 'JPEG', 'Change...' (Resolution), 'High quality printing or commercial printing (300dpi)') .


I was so anxious to see how it looked (as you know I am not a patient person), I printed it off on my horrible home printer. By no means did this give me the best results, but it did prove I love the way it turned out.

I created two sizes for this, the first was 8x10 and the second was 11.75 x15.75 (to fit into Ikea frames and to be printed on a 12x18 sheet at Costco). I am extremely happy with how the 8x10 looks with a mat but the larger will look great too without a mat.

I will print this at Costco for $1.89 and I had the frame on hand..so grand total for this Christmas gift is under $2. I guess if I had to buy a frame, it would be under $20. Not bad.

What do you think? Is anyone else working on their Christmas list already?

UPDATE: I have uploaded the Microsoft Publisher file to Google documents. You can download it here. Please leave me a comment to let me know whether or not you were able to download it ok. I am willing to share this as long as you promise to use it for personal use only and not to sell them. Note when you click on the link, Google documents will give you a note saying "Sorry, we are unable to generate a view of the document at this time. Please try again later." Or it will say "click here to download original file" you can save it by clicking on the link. That is ok. Simple click on the arrow down button (next to the print symbol) to download the file. Save the file and then you will have no problem opening it in Publisher after you download it.


Stephanie

Shadowbox Baby Announcement

I bought a few of these double shadow boxes years ago for an extremely discounted price. They had some large scratches on the top of the frames but I thought they could easily be 'fixed' with paint or even better a Sharpie.

I really had no plan for them when I purchased them so they have sat in storage for until now. I stumbled upon a box of special items from when our children were born (you know the items..the baby hat, the bracelet, newspaper from the day they were born, etc.) and I thought these frames would work great to display some of the baby items.

I started by repairing the frame with my favorite technique, a Sharpie. I use a sharpie permanent market in a similar color to the wood and start to fill in the scratch. I then quickly wipe off excess marker off the part of the frame that is not damaged. Try not to get too much on the wood as the Sharpie leaves the non-damaged wood a little shinier once it is dry.
 
I then decided on what baby items I was going to frame. I selected the baby hat, ID bracelets (both mine and hers) and the little diaper. My daughter had such a huge head when she was born; you can see her hat is bigger than the diaper :) .
 I used pearl end pins to secure the items to the cloth covered side of the shadow box. I did stuff the hat a little with tissue to give it some depth.
 I then decided I wanted to add her name and birth information to the frame. Initially I was going to add black vinyl onto the mat above and below the photo but I thought that would be too much of a contrast. So I decided to use white contact paper from the Dollar Store (If you have never done this before, here is where I did it for the first time) and place it on top of the glass.

I cut her name, birth date and weight with my Cricut out of the contact paper. I do not have the transfer paper (more like I am too cheap to buy it) so I use painters tape to easily transfer the words to the frame. This allows me to keep all the letters perfectly straight and evenly spaced.

I lay the painters tape along the bottom of the letters making sure it is straight. If the tape is on an angle, you will have a tough time getting it straight wherever you are sticking it.
 Remove the entire piece of contact paper from the cricut cutting board and bend the contact paper back so you can start removing the tape. As you slowly remove the tape, make sure the letters come up with it. Here is how it looked for me.
 I then stuck the tape to the glass (or wherever you want to place the vinyl) and then press the letters down. Slowly remove the tape on a sharp angle. Be sure the letters stick as you remove the tape. I find an old credit card or rewards card works well to help with this.
 Here is how it looked:
 I then did the same with her birth date and weight.
 Here is the end result (I have blurred out details).
 
Doesn't it look great! I wish I had finished it years ago.

Have a fantastic day.
Stephanie
Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z, Thrifty Home

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Blinded by the light - $15 Hallway light transformation

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend. We, here in Southern Ontario, celebrated our Thanksgiving with amazing summer like weather. It was fantastic! Not only did we get to go outside and clean up the garden before it get cold, we got to enjoy our local craft fairs without there being rain or mud.

Since I have not been well for the past while, I missed my mother's and sister's birthdays. This is not a huge deal as I see them all the time, but I hate not celebrating it. So, my mom and I went out last week for lunch and an afternoon of thrifting. It was loads of fun and I scored a few fantastic deals.

My mom has an odd staircase lighting situation. It is quite normal to have a light generally where hers is, but the exact placement is off. the light sits above the upper part of the stairs as opposed to the lowe half. She has purchased numerous lights to fit in the spot and nothing seemed to work. Chandeliers hang down too far and you run the risk of hitting your head on them, while flush and semi-flush mounts are too small and don't fill the space well.

Well in our thrifting travels, I found an amazing semi-flush light that had great potential for the bargain basement price of $15. My mom immediately fell in love with it the shape and size of the light but feared attempting to redo it. Since I have mastered the art of spray painting, I decided this could be my gift to her as her belated birthday gift. I know...I am a really big spender.

Here is the before in its tarnished brass state (don't you love the octagon shape and etched glass):

 Here is the after in all its ORB glory:
Here is what I did. Before I purchased the light, I made sure all the glass was in good condition and that it could be removed. I love to spray paint, I hate to tape things!
 All the glass for this light could be removed by taking off two decorative screw covers located at the top and bottom of each piece of glass. So easy, I didn't even need any tools.
After it was all apart, I used painters tape to prevent spray paint from venturing where it should not be, like the electrical wires and where the bulbs screw into.
I gave the entire thing a quick cleaning and then I took all the metal pieces, including the decorative screws, into the garage to my formal spray painting location. Do you like it? What a fancy set up...a large piece of cardboard on the ground. Can you guess what my favorite color of spray is?
I primed all the pieces with white primer. Normally I would use grey primer but I ran out after my last project and I wanted to get this started. I am not a patient person. I then waited about 2.5 minutes and pulled out my favorite Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. I did probably four or five really light coats to prevent any dripping. Here is what the first coat looked like:
I only wait a few minutes between each coat, so it really doesn't take too long.  After I let it dry for a few hours, I flipped it over and did the spots I missed on the underside.

Question for everyone out there reading this: It did take a full can to do this, only because my spray paint can got stuck while spraying. Have you ever had a can of Krylon spray paint get stuck before? I have never had the nozzle get stuck. I turned the can upside down to see if it would stop it but it just emptied out. I could maybe expect it from an old can, but this was brand new. I couldn't figure it out. Thank goodness I always have another can on hand.

After letting it dry for a full day, I reassembled the lamp and was amazed at how beautiful it was. It weighed a lot with all the glass, so my husband cursed me the entire time he was risking his life leaning over my mother's staircase trying to hang it. But it is now hanging and it looks perfect.
 
 
What do you think? Not bad for $15 and a can of spray paint! Would you be happy with this as a Birthday gift?

Now I just need to find something for my sister :)

Stephanie

P.S. Have you ever had a can of Krylon spray paint get stuck spraying before?
Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z, Thrifty Home

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Rope knot doorstop - a Ballard Design knock off

I have hoped to find an attractive doorstop (at a reasonable price tag) for our office for quite a while...well actually I wish for them ever time I open windows in our house. We have beautiful double french doors leading into our office, that unfortunately slam shut every time we open the windows.

After dreaming about many beautiful things on Ballard Designs website, I stumbled upon a great rope knot doorstop that was ridiculously priced at $45. I thought it didn't not look too difficult to make, so I recruited my husband to create two of them for me.
Source Ballard Design ($45)
As I was still sick and on the couch when I was dreaming of these, my amazingly wonderful husband ran to Home Depot and bought the rope for under $10 (20 feet of 3/4 inch was enough for 2) and then found some videos on YouTube detailing how to make the knot. The key to this was to find instruction on how to create a 'monkey fist knot'.  It took a while for us to figure out the name of the knot but once we did, a simple google search produced many different instructions.
 
My hubby practiced with some plastic rope from the dollar store and after about 5 minutes was ready to give the real thing a shot. At first we tried a rock as the weight in the middle, but the shape wasn't perfect. So while I was outside looking for a perfectly round stone in the garden, I found a tennis ball our dog had left behind. I knew it would be exact shape I wanted but it needed some weight. With my husbands advice, I cut a slit in the tennis ball open with a sharp knife and filled it with little stones from the garden. The stones gave the tennis ball enough weight to hold the door open while being the perfect shape.
After 10 minutes of twisting and tightening the rope knot, my husband produced the perfect doorstop that even had a convenient loop so we can hang the stop on the door handle when we close the doors.

Now I just need him to make 2 more for our master bedroom!

What do you think?

Stephanie
Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z, Thrifty Home

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