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PB Teen Knock Off – Eiffel Tower Wall Art

on April 1, 2013

Bonjour, bonjour! I’m here today with an easy-peasy knock-off from PB Teen! We recently re-decorated my about-to-be 9-year old (yikes!) daughter K’s room in a Paris theme. At her age, it’s likely her tastes will change within the next few years, so I was looking for something flexible. I was searching high and low for pieces and wall art that would reflect the theme but wouldn’t break the bank. Of course, because my tastes are little more champagne than my soda pop bank book, I fell in love with this simple wall art over at PB Teen. Although I wouldn’t be able to pull off the stretched canvas part, I figured I could make something similar for a fraction of the cost.

For this project I used:

  • 1 1x8x6 piece of softboard cut into 5-8×10″ sections
  • Modge Podge or other decoupage medium
  • Krylon Black Spray Paint – Satin Finish
  • 1 picture of the Eiffel Tower, modified to fit the length of your finished project
  • low grit sandpaper
  • 5 Saw tooth picture hangers

What I did:

Preparing the wood

1. I decided my finished project would be 40″ long, so I had Shay cut the board into five sections, each 10″ long. If you do not have a power saw, Lowes or your hardware store can probably do the cuts for you.

2. I lightly sanded the edges with a low grit sandpaper, but mostly left the edges rough to add to the rustic-ness.. I know, that isn’t a word, but I know you know what I mean!

3. Each piece received a few coats of the black spray paint, but again, I was not too careful with full coverage. Let dry fully.

Modifying the image

1. I found my free image here. I decided my finished project would be 40″ long, so modified my image to 8×40″ in mspaint. I then cut the image into five 8×10″ sections, and printed them out individually on 8×11″ paper.

2. I carefully tore all four edges of each image, by grasping the edge of the corner and pulling towards myself. This gave me a rough edge to work with.


Applying the image:

1. If you find your image has some overhang on the edge, carefully tear to fit. I found it depended on the image, but in most cases, I tore the image to fit, in others, I just wrapped the overhang around the side and applied the modge podge. Use your best judgement. Be sure to line ALL boards and images up at once to check for alignment – I started this on board #2, and unfortunately, if you look carefully, you can see my finished project is slightly out of alignment. Learn from my mistakes!

2. Following instructions on your decoupage medium, apply each image directly to the painted board. And smooth out. This was the first time I was not too concerned with air bubbles – If you’ve never used a decoupage medium or Modge Podge before, here is a group of terrific tutorials on how to use it.

3. Let dry. Apply a second coat.

4. Apply your saw tooth picture hangers according to directions on package.

5. Hang your finished project!

This was a really fun and easy project, and what’s more, I can easily see applying this to other images.

I’m partying with:
More the Merrier Monday

For the love of throw pillows

on March 29, 2013

I come from a long line of crafty women. My grandmother, whom we called Nanny, was a mass-producer of everything crafty. She knitted, crocheted, sewed, baked, decoupaged.. well, you get the idea. Oh, she also sang in her church choir, spent some time as an independent hair stylist that would be called in for weddings requiring french braiding, AND would often be called upon to can tomatoes for her neighbors. Don’t even get me started on her dill pickles! When she started a new project, she would do it with gusto. I personally possess half a dozen decoupaged picture plaques from the decoupage phase, 6-10 crocheted blankets for each child I have, myself, my cousins – there were 9 grandchildren – and some of OUR children all have handcrafted quilts that she made.
And then, there was the time of the throw pillows. Keep in mind, this was in the 80s where everything was in excess already and just close your eyes and try to imagine. Her throw pillows were often pastel colored, draped and piped in homemade lace, satin and ribbons and were of every shape and size. She very often crocheted doilies to place on the pillows and no two pillows were ever alike. They were true confections. My mother alone could have kept her in business – she had at least 10 pillows on her bed, and my sister and I had close to the same between us. I thought they were truly the most beautiful pillows I had ever seen and have to say, I think that time was the only that I made my bed so carefully, arranging each pillow over and over again. My friends were jealous.  As word got out, before long, she had started a small business making these pillows, and I believe at one time, she was hand-making up to 100 pillows a week. I’m completely guessing of course, but it was a lot – it might have been even more than 100 – she was an amazing woman.

I have a fraction of the talent my Nanny had, but one of the things that stuck with me, is a love for throw pillows. How else can you change a room for less than $20, and even less if you’re making them yourself? I love the versatility of a throw pillow.  Adding the right throw pillow can take a room to a whole new level – a room without them looks stark and uninviting.  Adding pillows says “curl up with me” or “nap”.  Nothing else can provide the decorating versatility that a pillow can. The right grouping of pillows can set a theme to a room without making a permanent change.

I’m a little fickle – I change my mind and like to mix things up constantly – throw pillows allow me to do that without having to take out a second mortgage and they are small and easily stored. I have holiday pillows, outdoor seasonal pillows and my home, I have some pillows that I have recovered 3-4 times as my tastes change. In my girls’ rooms, I used pillows to set the theme. K has a Paris theme – given that she might grow out of this in next few years, I used mostly accessories, including throw pillows, to set the theme. In B’s room, she wanted a zebra print, with lots of glitter and sparkle. When – not if – their tastes change, it’s not a major thing. We can swap out a few accessories, a few pillows, and voila, new room! There are not many things in life that are THAT easy.

I miss my Nanny. I’m so grateful to her for all she taught me and I wish I’d taken the time to learn all I could from her when she was still with us. Still, if she could hear me I’d say, “look Nan! Pillows!” and she’d probably laugh in that way she had. Since I am showing you photos of 8 pillows, maybe I learned I little more from her than I thought – either way, I will keep on making pillows, I will think of her whenever I do.. and I will always, always cherish my large inventory of decoupaged plaques.

** I link up at these parties.

PBTeen Knock Off – Dip Dyed Ruched Duvet

on March 27, 2013

You may remember, when planning for B’s new room, we were going for a zebra print, funky tween feel, with elements of music or singing, because that’s B’s favorite thing. The colors were to be teal blue, kelly green or lighter and violet. I wanted zebra print to be obvious in the room, but not overpowering and I wanted some flexibility for the next few years as her tastes change. When it came to bedding, I needed the same things – flexibility, funkiness, with a touch of zebra.

We loved this:

But, we didn’t love this – $$$.

So, we decided on this – DIY Knock Off.  So glad we did, because she LOVES it. Honestly, part of it we came upon by accident (there is a story in there), but nonetheless, it’s exactly what we were going for.

This is a lengthy, lengthy project – it was two days in total – It’s also not necessarily a simple project, but it’s more time consuming than difficult. My cost came in at $49 in total, so it was worth the time and effort I put in to it. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not it’s worth your time. Directions below are for a twin sized duvet.

You will need:

  • 1 twin sized flat sheet – white
  • 1 queen sized flat sheet – white
  • 4-5 packages of single fold bias tape in coordinating color – I used white and it does not show through
  • Rit Dye in your choice of colors (2). They have a really useful color formula guide here that can help you mix up to 500 colors
  • Water, etc. as determined by the dye package
  • A tub or other vessel large enough to submerge a queen size sheet
  • Thread
  • A down or down alternative comforter insert  
  • A measuring tape
  • A sewing machine

Dying your fabric:

1. Prepare to dye your fabric. Choose one color to use first, and following the directions on your dye packaging, prepare your dye bath. I dyed only the queen sized sheet, as that is the visible side of the duvet, but you could do both sheets if you feel the need. I laid the queen sized sheet out on the floor and measured the total length of fabric, and divided it by three – one section for each color, and one for the middle white section. I used a piece of ribbon to tie off the first section. This delineates where you will “dip” your fabric to in the dye bath. I then folded my fabric, accordion style, to ensure it would fit evenly in the dye bath. Keep in mind, the top of the queen sheet with the large hem will be the bottom of your duvet – dye accordingly.

2. Again, following the directions on the dye bath, “dip” your fabric from the bottom up to the ribbon tied area. I dipped right up to the ribbon and then pulled some of the fabric out so that gave an ombre effect. I was able to do this near the kitchen sink, and placed the undyed fabric in to the sink during the dying process.
3. When they dying is complete, begin rinsing. Rinse, rinse, RINSE, I can not stress this enough. I would even recommend running a rinse cycle before the recommended washing of the item. Let’s just say, my duvet was accidentally dyed entirely green from lack of rinsing, when I washed it I learned this from experience.
4. Wash, dry and repeat steps 1-3 on the other end of the sheet with second color, leaving a non-dyed section in the middle of the sheet.
Assembling the duvet:
1. Measure the length of twin sheet and “even up” the length of the queen sheet by removing the large folded hem at the top of the queen sheet. Put this and the twin sheet aside for later use.
2. With the larger sheet laid out on the floor, measure the length and divide by 5. In my case, my sheet ended up 96″ long and my sections were approximately 16″ apart.
3. For the next step, you are going to begin gathering each section. Everyone has their own method, and if you are new to sewing, I found a great tutorial on the subject here and here, using two different methods. Whichever method you use, you will gather along the top and bottom, and then every 16″ (or whatever measurement) in between like so.
4. Measure the width of your twin sheet. Using this number, measure and cut 7 lengths of bias tape.
5. Lay your queen sheet out on the floor. Begin gathering by pulling your gathering threads – your finished width after gathering should be the same as the width of the twin sheet. I found it easiest to attach a cut length of bias tape to each end of the gathering strip, and gather against the bias tape for measure. Pin the bias tape well and even out the gathers across the gathering strip, one at a time. Stitch over bias tape, attaching it to the queen sheet. Again, I found this easiest to do one at a time. Your finished sheet will look like this:
 6. Using the removed section from step 1, cut off any stitching holding the piece together. (Note: your fabric color will be dyed the same as the bottom of your duvet.)
7. Now, cut this piece in half. Measure and cut one half to the length of the width in step 4. Put remaining aside along with the other half. This will be used for closure ties, and for an interface for the bottom of the duvet.
8.  Pin the first half cut in step 7 to the bottom of the duvet, right sides together, arranging gathers as necessary. Stitch, using 5/8″.
9. Turn interface to inside, press and stitch close to the seam – the idea is to create a flat edge and hide the gather.
10. With right sides together, align the twin sheet and the queen sheet together, place the top seam on the twin sheet at the bottom – there will be a slight difference in length. On the bottom, fold over the difference on the twin sheet to make up the difference and create another interface. Pin sides and top. On bottom, pin out 12″ from the corner, leaving a gap for the comforter to be inserted. The picture below shows the fold and width of stitching after sewing. Stitch together, using the original seam of the sheet as your guide (this hides the original seam inside the duvet).
 11. Create and attach ties – There are many methods of closure for a duvet – I like using ties rather than buttons. For the ties, cut 16 10″ lengths out of the remaining fabric from step 7. Create ties by stitching two lengths together, leaving one end open, turning through this end. You will create 8 ties in total – 4 for each side.
12. Turn duvet right side and lay flat on the floor. Position ties, one on each side evenly spaced along bottom opening. Attach securely.
13. Insert the comforter of your choice, and enjoy!
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