Custom Vinyl Decals

For my birthday this year, my in-laws generously gifted me with a Silhouette CAMEO electronic cutting tool. I’ve been wishing for one for a long time and I’m super excited to start cutting all the things!

For my first project, I decided to start small. We had some large plastic bottles lying around, so I thought some custom labels would be fun. I threw together some quick labels in their editor, which was pretty easy to use for simple designs.

After the CAMEO cut the self-stick vinyl, I transferred the vinyl to the transfer paper and then transferred them to the bottles.

The labels didn’t adhere as quickly as I’d hoped, but after some time, it’s looking good. I’m not sure how the steam of the shower will affect the labels, but for now, I’m super happy!

Liquid Gold Leaf

Over at Yellow Brick Home, I fell in love with the liquid gold leaf treatment they gave their dog bust. I knew it was something I definitely wanted to try.

I decided to use the same Plaid Liquid Leaf that they recommended. The next decision was what to paint. A few years ago I found these two figures at a thrift store for next to nothing and spray painted them white. I never did love the way they looked and so I chose them to be the guinea pigs.

For prep, I simply rinsed and dried them to get rid of any dust. I thought of priming, but then took the lazy route. I used a small paintbrush I had laying around and remembered to shake the bottle every few minutes.

After two coats, I think they turned out pretty great. Now I’m looking all over the house for other things to gold leaf.

Garage Organization

Last night I was able to complete one more item on my 26 before 26 list. I’d been working on it slowly over the last few months and can finally cross off #17: Organize the garage.

While our little house has plenty of closets, there wasn’t much outdoor storage for larger items and those not needed in the house. For the first couple years, we used an old storage shelf I had bought for an installation art piece during college. It had been painted so many times that the pieces no longer fit together properly. So I decided it was time to get things in order.

Here’s our garage before:

While this is nothing compared to the clutter most people have in their garages, it made the organizer in me cringe. Stacked chairs, sports equipment, Christmas decorations, and much more just sat where they wanted, occasionally falling over when we accidentally bumped against them. Not a great situation.

I had Clay help me remove the useless cabinet from the garage wall. Doesn’t he look excited to be here?

Then, I put together two new storage shelf units from Home Depot to fill the space. They were $70 each and much cheaper than any other cabinet option we considered.

And here’s the after with all of our boxes and things on the shelves. The organizer in me wanted to get all matching containers, but the thrift shopper in me said to make do with what we have.

The last step was to get some Elfa wall hooks and hangers from The Container Store to get the rest of the stuff up off the ground and out of the way. It seems like such a small change, moving the items 5 feet above where they original sat, but it makes such a difference. These items are the ones we only use once in a while or seasonally, so having them on the wall clears up walking space and keeps them out of harm’s way until we need them.

(Disregard the pile of building materials. These are simply waiting to be installed in our guest bathroom and will be gone soon!)

When we moved in, we had made it a point to always be able to park inside our garage (especially during the hot summer months). It’s easy to start packing and stacking items in there and soon your garage is overflowing with things you don’t even care about. This new system will hopefully make it quick and easy to keep things organized.

Shiny New Shower

After a quick five weeks, I’m giddy to cross of another item on my 26 before 26 list: #13: Replace master bathroom shower.

Whoever put in the original shower in our house must hate all things good. They did everything wrong and chose the cheapest methods and hardware possible. The first thing I wanted to do when we moved in was replace the shower. Two and a half years later, we finally got around to it. After speaking with contractors, we were a bit disheartened at the high estimates we received. Our friend Paul stepped in and offered to help us out at night and on weekends. This morning I used the new shower for the first time and actually squealed with delight. No longer do I need to worry about water soaking into the walls, my products have a nice shelf to sit on, and I’m not embarrassed if someone sees it! And the absolute best part? We saved about $5,000 doing it ourselves.

I searched through all the photos I took when we moved in the house for a “before” photo, but I couldn’t find a single one. It’s probably for the best, because it was pretty gross. No worries, it’s beautiful now!

DIY Pin Boards

I recently fell in love with these linen pin boards from Pottery Barn. They serve a functional purpose while bringing some soft texture into any room. I didn’t, however, fall in love with the price tag. They’re currently on sale, but regular price will run you $99 for a small one and $149 for a large. I decided to try and make my own in hopes of saving some money.

I looked around at a couple office supply and craft stores. I found the best solution at Joann Fabrics: Flip Side cork panels measuring at 16″x36″. I wanted the pin boards to be light-weight, but also to have some depth. I bought two on sale for $7.99 each. I also purchased some linen fabric (1.5 yards) for $14.99. If you want to save even more money, you can get linen-feel fabric for less. I wrapped the cork panels in the fabric and stapled it to the back. I used heavy duty mounting tape to place them on the wall and decorated with clear push pins, binder clips, photos, artwork, and memorabilia from past traveling.

Total cost was about $35 and I think it looks great. It was super quick and easy and really adds a lot to the space.

LEGO Furniture

I’ve seen quite a bit of functional LEGO sculptures and especially love custom built LEGO furniture. This LEGO coffee table is pretty awesome, albeit expensive. The writers of Humble Ablog set out to create a LEGO replica of the George Nelson Platform Bench by Herman Miller. They had to buy each brick individually at 10-26 cents apiece (yikes!). Regardless, the outcome is impressive: a functional piece of furniture that looks beautiful from afar and amazingly whimsical up close.

original blog post at humble ablog

How to dye your Chuck Taylors

I’ve been wanting dark green Converse for quite some time now, but the only green they offer is a kelly green. At you can now order custom shoes from a selection of colors and prints. It is a pretty neat option, but costs $17 more plus shipping. I decided to go a cheaper route and bought white canvas shoes with plans to dye them green.

I picked up a package of dark green RIT dye (powder) from Walmart for $1.65 and gathered supplies. You will need:
– RIT dye (powder or liquid)
– bucket or sink
– old towel
– mixing bowl or old plastic container
– 1 cup salt
– 1 tablespoon laundry detergent

First you want to fill a mixing bowl or plastic container with hot water. I used an old Harkins cup. Mix in your powder dye until completely dissolved. If you choose liquid dye, you can skip this step. Next, fill your bucket or sink with hot water and add the salt and laundry detergent. I used a small bucket and an entire package of RIT dye.

Next, mix your dye into your water bath. Be careful with splattering and be sure to wipe up any spills immediately. Remove the laces and place your shoes in the bucket. The shoes will float to the surface, so to avoid this I used two bamboo skewers to hold them down. I left them in the dye for about 20 minutes. When your shoes look good and done, carefully empty your bucket. Rinse the shoes first with warm water and then cold. You will want the water to run clear.

I let the shoes sit for 5 minutes, rinsed again, and then set them on a towel to dry for the night. The next morning I threw them into the dryer and ran it for 10 minutes. Then I added black laces and voila: dark green.

EDIT: Frequently Asked Question

Will the rubber soles absorb the dye?
I’ve never had a problem with the rubber absorbing the dye, but I have heard of some people having issues. If your soles do stain, try scrubbing them with a magic eraser or with a paste made of equal parts hot water, baking soda, and white vinegar.