Tag Archives: diy

Tutorial: Fridge Dry-Erase Board

12 Jul

Luke and I have been trying to find a solution to our grocery list for awhile. We find Post-It notes are perfect to jot down what we need and take with us as we go in and out of stores. However leaving the little sticky pieces of paper all over the fridge to write down what we need as we notice, wasn’t really working for us.

So I turned to my old friend raffia (which you might remember from the Raffia Bowl Tutorial). While I was at the Dollar Store stocking up on more raffia I found a package of three sheets of dry-erase board. There were 3 11×14” pieces. Now these were much too big to be putting on the fridge, but once I cut them in half they were perfect!

Looking at the 5 left over pieces I decided to make a frame for the dry-erase board that I could slide them in and out of. That way once one board is past its prime and no longer looking very nice I can easily replace it with another one.

I love the bright colours the board adds to my kitchen, I even made a little holder for the post-it-notes so that we never have to go searching for them. Now as we notice we are low or out of things we can quickly jot it down on the dry-erase board and when we go out to run our errands it only takes a moment to write out what we need to get on the post-it-notes.


1. Mod Podge

2. Play-Dough

3. Raffia

4. Baloons

5. Wooden Dowels

6. Post-It Notes (for size reference).

7. Dry-Erase Boards

In case anyone uses the Post-It Note system that I do here’s the instructions on how to make the little holder for them.

Let it dry completely, you can add another coat of Mod Podge to stiffen it up. Add some magnets on the back and call it a day. Wax paper works great for drying anything covered in Mod Podge, its easy to peel off.

I didn’t cover some of the basic parts involved in using raffia in this way. If you’d like a little more direction check out the Raffia Bowl tutorial, it’ll tell you all you need to know.

Anyone else use Post-It notes for their errand runs? Different methods? What works for you?


On the List: Vintage Stitches & Stenciled Dishes

12 Jul

Oh the goodies I have found online this week! It’s an exciting mix and I’m going to get right to it.

Vintage Embroidery Pattern

I stumbled on this adorable pattern from doe-c-doe early in the week. My embroidery skills are still in their infancy and it’s cute little details like these that has me motivated to get to the next level. There is just something about vintage images that melt my heart.

Soap Making

I don’t know why but as soon as I realize something can be made from hand at home I can’t wait to dive right in. Judging from the popularity of all DIY topics I can tell its something a lot of us share.

When I saw this review of a book about making soap from Craft Critique I had to tell myself not to jump the gun. I just picked up a book on another hand made project (more about that later) and I have to tell myself, often, that you can only do so much at once. So making soap is now on the list.

Trick out Your Blog

I’m always on the look out for ways to improve Off the List. When I decided to start up a blog I knew there was a lot of work in store. I am now just starting to see that working on the blog’s appearance and layout is an on going thing.

My 3 Monsters did up a post with tons of advice and links for different aspects you can put into your blog to make it stand out and make a statement.

Using Martha Punches for Pillow Stencils

I’ve always been a bit of a Martha snob. I didn’t really GET why everyone was so excited about the whole Martha empire thing. Slowly I’m being converted to the dark side. I started peeking around The Crafts Department and came across a little post about stenciling. I didn’t find it all that exciting, same old information about using freezer paper, but then I saw these pillows.

Those punches are flipping expensive. Even when you pick them up on clearance. But they do have some amazing design and detail and now that I have another great use for them (other than just paper craft) I can justify spending the money a little easier.

They also have a little post about using the punches in a similar way to add very pretty details to glasses using etching cream. Such an easy way to dress up plain dishes!

A great week of crafty finds.

I had a little splurge shopping at Michael’s this week and Luke pointed out a whole section of clearance books. I picked up one on paper making. Its filled with a lot of detail information about the scientific aspects as well as pages and pages on the history of the ancient craft.

As much as the nerd in me loves reading that kind of stuff I’ll admit that I breezed past all of it the first time to get to the step-by-step process. I can’t describe how excited I am at the possibilities. I’ll have a full post up later to share all the info so be sure to check back!

Happy Sunday.

Tutorial: Upcycled Craft Storage

6 Jul

As promised in the On The List post from Sunday here is the great tutorial I was talking about. I`m so excited to share this with all you other crafters out there. I know how quickly supplies can get out of hand. I can`t stand working in a mess, not being able to find the ribbon I want!

Here is a great way to upcycle any old bookshelf hanging around (or you can find one in a thrift store for super cheap). By adding tilting bins you can keep stuff tidy and out of site, but still have quick access to all your supplies. A couple of dowels helps to keep all those pretty ribbon organized while still showcasing your collection.

Lets get started.

Materials and Tools

  • Old Book Shelf (any size, you can easily customize the bins to work with what you have).
  • Sheet of Pressboard (very, very cheap. $20 will get you enough to do 10+ bins)
  • Finishing Nails
  • Hinges (two per bin)
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Scrap Book Paper
  • Mod Podge
  • Dowels
  • Rod Brackets (two per dowel)
  • Jig Saw (we used a skill saw, but PLEASE do not try this unless you spend a lot of time working with one, like Luke)
  • Palm Sander/Sand Paper
  • Hammer/ Brad Nailer
  • Paint Brush/ Roller/ Sprayer

The measurements will vary depending on your shelf. You will need 4 pieces for each bin.

This little bookshelf has a long history.

It was originally a nightstand in my sister’s room growing up. Than I commandeered it and used it for storage in my bathroom when I moved out. When I grew tired of that  I added some brackets, mounted it on the wall and used it to show case my (large, large) collection of sprinkles. I had almost thrown it out before I started looking for ways to add storage to the craft room.

I love that pieces of furniture which normally have such short lifespans can be kept out of landfills with some paint and creativity.

I know you are itching to get started on your own  so I’ll stop distracting you. Go and reincarnate that ugly bookshelf you’ve got lying around! Be sure to come back and tell me all about it, I can’t wait to hear from you.

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I’m taking part in my first ever Link Party! I’ve linked up at Strut-Your-Stuff Thursday from the great Somewhat Simple blog,be sure to hop on over and check out all the other great projects.


FYI: Strawberry Picking and Processing

20 Jun

We’re going to take a brief detour from our FYI Gum Paste series, but don’t worry we’ll be right back to it in no time. It’s strawberry season and we need to take advantage.

We all try to do our part and eat local. It’s good for the economy and the environment. And it tastes delicious. It’s easy to do in the summer, but it can get a little harder once the farmers market start to close up in the fall. We need to pick up some long used skills that would have been second nature to our grandmothers.

The first, and most basic skill: How to Harvest Produce. Head down to your local pick-your-own berry farm and get ready to go strawberry picking.

Grab a couple of baskets and hop on the bed of the tractor. Soon you’ll be bumping along the field towards the designated strawberry patch.

Strawberry Picking Rule #1: Stay in your row, pick the berries that are growing to the inside. Unless your neighbour has moved on and you see a few choice berries they missed. Then it’s fair game.

Strawberry Picking Rule #2: Only pick the red berries. Be sure you don’t damage the ones that are green and unripe, that way there will be more bright red goodies in a week or two.

Strawberry Picking Rule #3: Be careful of berries that rest on the ground. They may look bright and pretty, but 9 times out of 10 they are bruised or a little insect has already helped themselves to lunch.

Strawberry Picking Rule #4: Don’t Pick under ripe berries. You want the ones that have a nice deep red colour.

Strawberry Picking Rule #5: Big berries are great for eating. But when you want to can, puree or freeze berries choose the smaller ripe ones. They have less water content and a more concentrated flavor.

Strawberry Picking Rule #6: When you have filled your basket make sure you can fit your hand under the handle.

The Golden Rule of Strawberry Picking: Everyone must have a sampling of the berries while picking. Quality control don’t you know?

Luke and I filled up 4 6 liter baskets. It took us roughly about an hour, it was a great time. 

Even though it was only 10 in the morning the field was filled with people of all ages. It’s great to watch the children wondering around smiling as strawberry juice trails down their chins. To me, that is the image of summer.

Be sure to check and see if your berry farm has any other pick-your-own produce. We’ll be back to ours for Raspberries and Pumpkins. We might even give the Snap Beans a go.

Now that we have our harvest we need to process it so that it’ll be around for the cold months.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how to freeze and puree strawberries as well as walk you through the simpliest way to make delicious jam that will have everyone you know knocking on your door.

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On the List: Blogging Tips to Puppy Drips

20 Jun

I’ve got a wide variety of projects to add to the list this week. As I go into my third week of blogging I’m starting to wonder how I can make Off the List a little more legit and maybe (just maybe)  increase traffic. My second sewing project has me looking to learn professional tricks and techniques. And as always I’m looking for ways to minimize the mess and craziness of living in a household where the people are outnumbered by the pets two to one.

Build a Better Blog

Creature Comforts has an amazing blog series that recently started up that is all about how to build a better blog. Boy do I ever need the advice. And judging from the comments I’m not the only novice blogger that is worshiping the kindness of our more advanced counterparts. Marketing, Advertising, Domain Names… Who knew there was so much to it all?

Twitter Following and Followers

I joined Twitter…and that’s pretty much as far as I have gotten. I’m still trying to figure out how this social-network-mini-posting thing works. I need to hunker down and search around to see which of my favorite crafty bloggers have Twitter accounts I can follow, maybe I can even gain some of my own followers. I currently have two, one of which I’m fairly certain is the Twitter equivalent to spam.

Vintage Sign

Little Blue Boo posted a tutorial featuring an unexpected way to make a very genuine looking vintage sign.  I have a huge canvas left from a failed painting years ago that I couldn’t bring myself to throw out. Now Little Blue Boo have given me a reason to justify carting it around from place to place.

Finishing Touches for Garment Sewing

Sew, Mama, Sew! Is an amazing resource for any aspect of sewing. But I really appreciate this post about Finishing Touches. It’s these little tips and tricks that make me want to sew. I hate finishing a project only to step back at it and feel like its lacking something, there’s no finesse, it looks TOO homemade. I’ll be absorbing as many of these techniques as I can fill my brain with.

Vinyl Table Cloth Turned Drop Cloth

Larissa over at Just Another Day in Paradise shared a tutorial for a High Chair Drop Cloth. I love the idea, but havn’t any use for a high chair yet (one day). But I do need to protect my wood floors around my dog’s water dish. Mason and Roxy are incapable of not spilling half of the water they drink. Especially Roxy, must be something to do with the puppyness. So this is On the List to transform into a puppy mat.

Happy Sunday Everyone, I hope in the next week you find some time to cross a few things Off Your list.

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Tutorial: Nap Time Blanket

18 Jun

I’m a napper. I believe that naps are the key to happiness, energy and immortality.  When I first started living with Luke he would suggest that I go to the bed to nap, instead of taking up the whole couch. I quickly set him straight; going to the bedroom would mean I was going to sleep, staying on the couch meant I was taking a nap. Yes even at 1 in the morning.

After being an eye witness to the awesomeness of my naps for a few years Luke started to pick up the habit himself. Unfortunately the one nap blanket we keep on the couch was very short. I’m 5 foot 2 and even I find that my toes become exposed if I’m not curled up just right. So after we set up my craft room (a birthday gift from Luke) and I no longer ran in fear at the sight of my sewing machine Luke asked if I could make him a nap time blanket.

So we picked up some fleece, which is the same material as my nap time blanket. I find it breathes in the heat and keeps you warm in the cold. I took a look at the original blanket and noticed that the corners are rounded. This spoke to my inner hatred of mitering of any kind (I had a traumatizing experience with trying to miter some baseboard trim) and decided to copy the detail.

Materials and Tools:

  • Fleece Fabric- 2 Yards (this was the perfect height and width, no cutting or scrap)
  • Quilt Binding or Double Fold Bias Tape- 9 Yards
  • Fabric for Lettering
  • Thread
  • Heat n Bond Iron on Adhesive
  • Scissors/Rotary Cutter and Mat
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • Pins

I love the word detail. I think I just might have to give the same treatment to the original nap blanket, maybe even add a Mr. and Mrs.

Ignore the paint on my hands in the pics, I’m in the middle of a couple of projects (arn’t we all). Oh and anyone who laughs at my consistently imperfect stitching gets their nap time rights revoked. As the Queen of Napping I can do that.

Here are the pattern for the words, all inversed and ready to go. Just for you, from me. Feeling the love?

It feels so good to have tackled a second session of sewing (ahahaha oh accidental alliteration). And I love that I can now say that this project is officially Off the List.

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Show & Tell: How to Give a Cheap Cabinet a Facelift

16 Jun

Over at Young House Love they were recently faced with a dilemma I can relate to.  Any one who has bought and set up a book shelf or cabinet knows all about the cheap cardboard backing that comes with it. They are flimsy, and do nothing to keep the shelves square to each other. But even worse they have the tell tail creases that scream ‘pre-fab, box store purchase!’ I’m going to share with you a quick and easy way to both strengthen up the cheap cabinet  and add so much character it’s drab history will forever remain your secret.

When I was setting up a room for my niece for when she came to visit,  (I’m one of those people who go above and beyond what is sane) I needed something to offer up some storage for all of the little toys and crayons we had stocked up on.

When I was clearing out the room (which had basically become a junk room) I emptied out an old tired cabinet that I had inherited from my mother. It was a cheap laminate with ugly doors that I had attempted to rescue a few years ago by painting a dark burgundy (don’t ask). I hauled it out of the apartment and asked Luke to take it down to the curb so someone who was interested in it could give it a new home.

Fortunately Luke didn’t get around to it right away and after I had walked past it a few times I started to see it in a different light. I was in the middle of painting a child’s sized table and chair set as well as retrofitting a set of hand made toy fridge and cabinet (the cabinet became a stove with some jig saw work). I loved the colours and wanted to find an excuse to slather the happiness onto another piece of work.

So I hauled the cabinet upstairs to the third floor apartment that we are currently renovating, and doubles as a work space. I wasn’t happy with that infamous cheap backing, especially since this was going to be in a room used by a child, and it needed to be sturdy. Also I had taken off the doors and wanted to make the cabinet really pop by doing something with the back. So off to the Home Depot we went.

We purchased some cheap paneling. Cheap in price: $4 for a huge piece (big enough for this project and then some) and cheap in look: fake wood grain….yuck

I went into my trusty painting kit (we have a kit for everything, electrical, plastering, plumbing).  Pulled out a roller and went off to find my HUGE tub of primer.

When you are alway renovating, this is how you buy primer. And when you have that large a tub of primer you can mix it by hand, but it’s more fun to use this handy little tool we picked up from the Dollar Store. It’s fits into a drill and is suppose to be used for the garden, but we use it to mix up everything from paint to plaster.

When you prime the paneling you want to have a good amount on the roller and make sure you get it into the recessed lines. You have to let it dry really well.

While we are waiting I’ll show you some of the main bathroom. Its the room that is closest to being done. Although this is an apartment we will be renting out eventually I still like to put in some little design quirks here and there.

Off setting the tiles and contrasting them with a grey grout worked perfectly to give basic tiles a modern look. We picked up this shower head in the clearance section. It’s not your typical ‘builder’ installation and helps to give the room a bit of character.

Because this is a rental unit we really can’t afford to sink a lot of money into the extra stuff, like bathroom shelving. So we are left with the option of using basic (and sometimes less than sturdy) items OR scouring the clearance section till we find a beauty like this. It was sold for $99 originally and we scooped it up for $20.

This is an attic apartment, so we are dealing with a lot of odd angles. The bathroom is no exception. After trying one lighting option that crowded the space above the vanity (there is a light on the walls to each side of the sink) I went online, determined to find a smaller light that would still look good. I found these reduced to $30. I think they were described as wall sconces, but I always look beyond the label.

Back to the paneling. With the primer dry I applied the paint, using a lighter coat, and being careful not to push down the roller very hard. This way paint doesn’t get into the recessed lines and they stay a nice contrasting white, with no extra work required. I did two coats, that worked for me.

With the backing ready and waiting I went to work at the cabinet itself. Sand, prime, and paint. We used some finishing nails to secure the paneling to the back and boy was it sturdy. There was no more shifting or give! Plus it looked amazing.

After the visit from Kimmy and my sister were over we changed the room into a craft room and our redone cabinet now proudly holds all my crafty odds and ends.

Do you have any tips for redoing box store furniture? Can’t wait to refinish a book shelf or cabinet? I’d love to hear from you.

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Show & Tell: Birthday Bunting Banner and Party Hats

7 Jun

I’m excited and flustered…. and embaressed.

My basket tutorial was posted over at whip up (yay!) and people are stopping over to my humble little blog. But I’m so ashamed at how empty it is! It’s like moving into a new home and inviting the neighbors over, only I don’t have anywhere for them to sit because the furniture hasn’t arrived yet.

So to everyone who has come to welcome me to the neighborhood I appreciate your patience. As a new blogger it’s going to take me ages before my online home has any of the substance and finesse of you other fine folks.

In the mean time I’m going to finish up the subject of the Birthday Package that I sent for my neice’s birthday. The baskets were the last part, before them I tackled making a Bunting Banner and Party Hats.  Both of which I followed amazing tutorials from other bloggers, with a few changes of my own.

I have a confession… the Bunting Banner= my first sewing project. It took me about 10 minutes to thread the machine when I started, by the end I could do it with my eyes closed. Maybe with a little peeking.

When my sister was just starting to think of planning Kimmy’s birthday I had come across an amazing tutorial for a birthday banner at Pickup Some Creativity. I quickly swindled her into NEEDING a bunting banner for the party and offered to make it.

Follow the tutorial and anyone (I’m proof) can have a super cute bunting banner in no time.

I took my very first trip to the fabric store (Luke was very patient as I owwed and awwwed over all the options) and picked out some coordinating fabrics.

Then I got to work sewing all of the triangles.

Here is where I deviated a little. I wanted the letters to really pop (and I had found the cutest black and white fabric on a second trip to the store). So I cut 2 1/2 inch circles out of fabric and sewed those onto the triangles first.

And then I sewed on the letters exactly as instructed in the tutorial.
After completing all of the letters (I might have adhered the a’s on backwards the first time, which might be a warning to not try and do sewing projects late at night with out the appropriate amount of caffeine).
I started sewing them all onto the Bias Tape. Which I found after a third trip… or was it a fourth?… to the fabric store. In the tutorial all of the triangles are sewn onto one piece of bias tape, I decided to divide mine in two. I measured 12 inches of my bias tape, started laying out the triangles and measured another 12 inches at the other end for each piece.
I also didn’t do the basting stitch recomended in the tutorial. I did a regular old stitch on the inside as well as the outside of the bias tape. I just don’t like having to rip out all those stitches. It looks fine this way, really you can’t notice.
This was a great first sewing project. It was straightforward and so clear with the great instructions from Pickup Some Creativity. And so rewarding, look how cute it is hanging on my wall. I can’t wait to see pictures of it in all it’s glory set up for the party.
The party hat tutorial came from Crap I’ve Made. I didn’t have the party hat mojo flowing and I had an illogically difficult time with these. I ended up having to make my own templates, one for the fabric and one to cut out cardstock for the hats. I could have bought the hats premade like Char at Crap I’ve Made… but making them was faster than a trip out for me.

I added a special detail for the birthday girl’s hat with a 2 1/2” felt circle and 2 made out of the same fabric from the banner. The little party hat on the 2 is simply a small triangle of the pink fabric sewn onto the hat and a small tuft of green yarn glued on with Fabri-Tac.

The pom poms were made using this tutorial from Kids Craft Central. Simple enough, repetitive, but simple. Ignore the squashed nature of the pom pom in the upper left corner, that was from the 2 hat sitting on top of it.

Hopefully my small additions will make Kimmy’s 2nd birthday a fun filled day for her.

Thank you for stopping by and taking a look at what I have to offer so far.

Please come by and check out all the new Tutorials, Show & Tells, FYIs and On the Lists posts as the blog grows. I’ll do my very best to fill my home with lots of interesting and useful material for everyone.

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