DIY: Bold Front Door

I haven't lived in an actual house since I lived in my parents house several years ago. And though I've loved all the apartments I've lived in for one reason or another, I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited to rent a whole house. No having to buzz people in. No having to park and then walk groceries up flights of stairs. No sharing laundry facilities. I get to have a basement and a backyard. And, in a weird way, I was excited to have a front door. A front door that I could paint and hope that my landlord doesn't hate me too much for. 

Here's what my house looked like when I moved in. I live in a rowhome in Philadelphia so I have a house on either side of me, with two windows in the front. I know it isn't for everyone, but I happen to think my little house is pretty cute from the front. But that front door was filthy dirty and really needed a new coat of paint, regardless of the color. Figuring out the door color was the hardest part. I wanted something that was bold, but also wouldn't be completely awful to cover when I needed to repaint over it when I move out. I also wanted it to be bold, but didn't want it to be so weird that my neighbors hate me for having to look at it. I also wanted it to be a color that would compliment the brick, which means I couldn't have the hot pink door of my dreams.

So here we are! Halfway through painting the door I thought I had made a terrible mistake. It seemed really bedroom-y and not as bright as I had hoped. But once I finished the first coat and stepped back, I loved it. I used Valspar Exterior Paint in Aqua Quartz and I think it really makes my house pop without being too obnoxious. Mission accomplished! <3

DIY: Tissue Paper Tile Coasters

Tile coasters were one of my first DIY projects I posted on this blog and one of the things that I still use in my house everyday. BUT I'm really tired of looking at these, so I made some really simple new tile coasters using a bunch of stuff I had floating around my craft cabinet.

You'll need: Ceramic Tiles, Mod Podge, Acrylic Sealer, a Sheet of Self-sticking Felt, Scissors, Foam Paint Brush, and different colored tissue papers. I also used a patterned tissue paper with a white background so the pattern would show through.

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Starting with the patterned tissue paper, rip pieces of tissue paper and glue to the tile using Mod Podge. You'll want to paint a layer of glue on the tile, press the piece of tissue paper down and then paint a layer of glue over the tissue paper. Try and keep the paper from becoming too wrinkled, but some wrinkles are okay. 

Layer the pieces of paper to create a random pattern that is slightly different per tile. Use the corners of the paper at the corner of the tile. Each time you add a piece of tissue paper, include a layer of glue.

Once you've placed the tissue paper pieces where you want them, apply a final coat of glue over the entire tile and sides, and let it dry completely. Once the glue has dried, apply 2-3 coats of sealer over the top and sides of the tiles to seal everything. Let dry completely.

Cut your self-sticking felt sheet into 4 even sides pieces and attach to the bottom of each tile. Done.

DIY: Reupholstered Vanity Stool

You know those projects that you buy all the supplies for and then let them sit around for months until you actually get around to doing them? That's what this project was. This little vanity stool has been upholstered with this zebra fabric for years now. And though this was the first time I had reupholstered anything, it didn't quite fit the style I was going for in my bedroom anymore. I bought this floral fabric from Joann's and then proceeded to let it sit around until one Saturday morning when I couldn't take it anymore and it needed to happen right then and there. That's just how my brain works, I guess.

Reupholstering something like this vanity stool, or these bar stools, is really fairly simple. Here's how it goes.

For this projects, you'll need whatever you are covering, fabric, a staple gun, and maybe a flat-head screwdriver.

First, I removed that paper I had stapled to the bottom of the cushion. Then lay out your fabric, place the cushion upside down on top of it and cut the amount you'll need. You want the fabric to be about 2-2 1/2 inches larger than the seat. Place the cushion in the center.

Start by wrapping the fabric up over the bottom of the cushion and staple in place. Be sure that the seat is in the center before you place that first staple.

Once that first staple is in, work your way around the seat pulling the fabric tight and trying to keep it as smooth as possible. 

The trick (I don't know if "trick" is really the right word, but oh well) is to pull the fabric and see where it wants to lay. Mine usually ends up in the fan-like pattern you can see below. But the goal is to get the top and sides to be as smooth as possible. You honestly don't really care too much what the bottom looks like. Work your way around the cushion and stapling the fabric in place. If you mess up, just remove the staple with your flathead screwdriver and do that section again.

It's not completely perfect, but perfection doesn't matter to me that much. It's for my own home and to be honest, not-perfect-floral-print is so much better than faux-zebra-print-fur. That's how I look at it.

Once you get all the way around, cut the extra fabric off to neaten things up. Reattach the cushion to the base and you are good to go.

It's such a tiny element to my bedroom, but to me it makes such a difference. My bedroom is a mixmatch of furniture and nothing really matches. Someday I'm going to sand down that vanity completely and paint the whole thing charcoal gray and replace the hardware. I've also been saying that for about 8 years... But, at least I have a cuter vanity stool in the meantime.

DIY: Embellishing Doors with Washi Tape

I have a weird apartment layout, which would be more of a problem if it wasn't just me living in it. My apartment building is a Victorian-style house that was converted into 4 apartments, and my guess is that at one time, my living room and bedroom used to be 2 bedrooms separated by a jack-and-jill bathroom. Now that the one room is my living room, you need to walk through my bathroom to get to the bedroom. Like I said, would be a bigger problem if I wasn't living alone. 

All of this is leading me up to the fact that I have a lot of doors in my apartment. There's a door that separates the living room and bathroom, and a door that separates my bedroom from the bathroom, both in a pretty tight space. So, I decided those doors needed some pazazz and it needed to be cheap and take about 5 minutes. Washi tape to the rescue.

You'll need: washi tape and an exacto knife. 

This little update is done in a flash. Starting at the top of the door, aim to place the tape straight and in the middle of the door's width. Then just press it down, trying to keep it as straight as possible. When you get to the metal section in the middle, use the exacto knife to cut a clean edge and then start again at the bottom of that metal piece. Bring the tape all the way down the door, and wrap around the bottom before tearing it off. Give all the tape a firm pressing and you're done!

I love that it adds just the tiniest pop of color in a space that's a bit of a design challenge. And having it on both doors means that I can see it both from my sofa and from inside my bedroom. And when I no longer like it, or want to switch out the color, it peals right off.

DIY: Chocolate Covered Pretzel Valentine in a Jar

Because Tim and I's anniversary is so close to Valentine's Day, we don't usually exchange anything too big or elaborate on February 14. But, I wanted to make a little something special for us to enjoy and I thought chocolate covered pretzel would fit the bill perfectly. Easy to make, and can be stacked in a mason jar for a cute and practical gift. And I was able to use up a bit of the craft odds and ends I have laying around. 

This is one of those projects that can be changed and customized by whatever you have on hand. For mine, I used some scrap fabric, a mason jar, washi tape, assorted ribbons, a leftover pom pom, and some cardstock and a sharpie for the tag. Also, something sweet and chocolately to fill your jar with!

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Clean your jar and fill it with some sweet treats. I made some chocolate covered pretzels with heart sprinkles. Very festive. 

Take the center part of the lid and use that to cut your fabric. You'll want it to be a square that's about an inch bigger than the lid. To attach the fabric, place the center circle down, then the fabric, and then the outside rim to hold the fabric in place.

Add your decorations! I wrapped some heart washi tape around the jar, and tied some gold ribbon above that. Then I used some red Christmas ribbon to attach a pom pom and a handwritten tag around the neck of the jar. And that's it! Simple and handmade Valentines.