Tag: Easy

Furniture Refinishing to Fit Your Unique Style

When my neighbor asked if I wanted an armoire her daughter didn’t want anymore, I jumped at the offer. It’s hard to pass up free, especially when my crafting space was in need of additional storage. I was heavy into furniture refinishing at that point in time. Over the previous year, I’d completed the antique dresser, stencil coffee table, shutter buffet, and bookcase projects among other dresser refinishes. The armoire was in much better shape than most of my other projects so didn’t require any structural updates. Sometimes, a more simplistic project can be a nice change of pace, especially if time and energy are in short supply. With that in mind, it was up to my creativity to decide what direction to take this piece.

Furniture Refinishing Paint Options

The options for furniture paint seem endless. I’ve tried a fair few at this point from Annie Sloane to Martha Stewart. One of my favorite brands for furniture refinishing is Fusion Mineral paint for its coverage and ability to smooth out as it dries. I decided to use Inglenook, because I’d already used it for a bench refinish and had a lot left. You can search for local shops who sell in store on the Fusion website or you can order it online like I did for this color. Something to keep in mind with Fusion paint is the color changes a bit as it dries, in comparison to how it looks the days you put it on.

Fusion Mineral Paint - 500ml - Inglenook

Inglenook by Fusion Mineral Paint.

As with all furniture refinishing paint jobs, it’s important you either sand the surface to give the paint some grit to adhere to for longevity or use a deglosser. I’ve used the deglosser on several projects and found pretty good results. The deglosser is quite simple and quick. After cleaning the piece, rub the degloser all over the surface with a cloth. Voila!

Trying Something New

In many of the previous furniture refinishing projects, I used stencils to spruce up the paint. It was definitely my obsession for a bit. To pull away a bit from that obsession, I decided to do something different with this armoire. I opted to give adhesive wallpaper a try. After searching Amazon for a good while, an antique bike wallpaper sparked my interest. It was completely affordable and a nice pairing with the color. When the wallpaper came, I was glad to see it indeed matched well with the Inglenook paint.

I love the measurements on the back of peel and stick wallpapers. This one had a ton of language blurbs, so the lines weren’t there to cut along as much as I’ve seen on other peel and stick products. The best way to go about adhering it to the surface is to peel the top edge and place it along the edge. From there, you need to gently pull the backing while smoothly the surface as you go. This allows you to go as fast or slow as you want. I used my hand because it was easiest but a ruler or other straight object could be needed. It was super easy to put it on the two drawer fronts and the inside backing despite being a half inch to short for the width.

The Final Touch

One of my favorite things to do is to cruise through the clearance sections at stores for crafting finds. On one such trip through Walmart, I found some dark wax. It sat with the rest of my finds until this project, which felt like the perfect pairing with the antique bike wallpaper. In general, regardless of the durability of the paint, doing a top coating will serve the furniture and your work best. A sealing wax (light or dark) is one of the options. Dark wax would be a bit much over the whole surface so is usually meant to give the piece an antique look. I put a clear wax over all the surfaces and then opened up the new can of wax. (You just said worms in your head, didn’t you, ha.)

Given this was my first dark wax attempt, I went at it with what I assumed you should do. I was slightly taken aback by how dark the wax actually was on the surface. It was a quick realization I would need to spread it quickly and wipe off the excess. Some spots showed as being a little heavy handed. I stuck to darkening the corners and creases of the door, drawers, top, and bottom frames.

I was definitely winging it and was a bit indecisive on all locations or look, but I think I did an okay job to start. After the wax dried, I thought some of the heavy handed spots needed a bit more fading. Applying the clear wax over it allowed me to lighten those areas.

Furniture Refinishing Completion

With the paint dry, the wallpaper affixed, and the wax applied, this piece was ready to be stocked with crafting supplies. Hopefully, it inspires you on your next project!

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

20 Lovely and Crafty Valentines Decor Ideas to Make Today

In general, any holiday can evoke feelings of stress and anxiety, from the anticipation of interactions, the glaring absence of relationships, and/or the added list of tasks the holiday brings with it. I’d venture to say Valentine’s Day is the least favorite holiday for some. Way back before my husband and I got together (in high school), I saw it as a holiday pointing out the absence of love as it’s traditionally celebrated in a relationship. I was definitely young and tunnel visioned in that way, but as a teenager it’s what glared out at me. Currently, as a married adult, my husband and I still don’t celebrate it to any large degree, mostly because he hates the ‘hallmark’ holiday idea. To brighten the day up, I think the best way to celebrate the idea of love, is to craft your way into a Valentines decor infused space.

If you’re with me, follow along for a collection of lovely and crafty ideas you could do with or without your loved ones. If may just provide you with some meditative moments and a boost of confidence at seeing what you are able to create!  

Valentines Decor Collection

  1. Cupid’s Arrow Valentine’s Day Wall Hanging by Charleston Crafted 

I’ll happily admit I’m partial to arrow decor, so this Cupid’s arrow wall hanging hits me in just the right spot. One of the best parts is the simplicity and ease to create it. I also just saw Joann Fabrics has felt on sale right now, so it’s a match made in heaven. 


2. DIY Dollar Store Heart Wreath by South Lumina Style

This homemade wreath definitely comes off as having store bought quality and would look great with lots of different decor.  

Valentines decor heart wreath

And then there’s this other version of a heart wreath using the same wire frame but with material scraps. Totally farmhouse chic and a great way to use up any scraps you might have. 

3. Rag Heart Wreath by Simple Simon and Co.

Valentines decor rag heart wreath

4. Thumbprint Heart Glass Gem Magnets by Rhythms of Play

I’m smitten with this idea as a way to capture the kids’ fingerprint sizes for years to come, because the kids are only small for so long. A reality I’ve been living as my oldest is now taller than I. I could also use some more magnets to hold up pictures on the fridge, so that’s a win in my book. 

valentines decor thumbprints

5. Heart Garland by My Sanity Project 

After having posted about my Christmas mitten garland, I couldn’t pass up on this heart garland. It’s equally as cute as the mittens. 

valentines decor heart garland

6. Valentine’s Day Trail Sign by Stow and Tell U

Which path would you choose on this Valentine’s day hike? I’m partial to Cupid’s Arrow Peak myself.


7. Valentine’s Table Runner by H20 Bungalow

While perusing ideas, I liked how unique this concept was among the bunch of wreaths and wall decor. There weren’t any other table runner ideas I saw and burlap gives it the added farmhouse look. I ‘love’ it!

Valentines decor table runner

8. DIY Farmhouse Garland by Refresh Living

Sometimes, you just can’t beat a little simplicity. The toned down color and ease of this garland is oh so lovely. Stringing beads definitely provides an opportunity to meditate as well!


9. Canvas Heart Art by Design Improvised

I couldn’t go without including some canvas wall decor. My girls love painting on canvas, so the image really sparked a fire in my to break out the paint and glitter. The variety in texture definitely adds a nice dimension to the collection. 


10. Lavender Sachets by Beauty for Ashes 

Given that smells can be a great way to ease stress and recall memories, I thought this heart sachet idea was superb. If you’re planning a lovely night or holiday season, give your olfactory sense something to spark memories in the years to come. 


11. Yarn Wrapped Hearts by Fynes Designs

Simple yarn can come pretty cheap, so this idea also stood out to me as affordable and a nice kid friendly idea. It’s also a nice pairing to idea 8 in this list. 


12. Valentine’s Gnomes by Follow the Yellow Brick Home

Gnomes seem to be all the rage these days. These Valentine gnomes look easy enough for anyone to accomplish and add a cute gnome splash to a Valentine decor vignette. 


13. No Sew Valentine Pillows by Moms and Crafters

I could spend forever rooting through fabrics to find just the right pattern and feel for these cute pillows. Personally, I would go bigger than these appear to be and save money by stuffing them with the cruddy looking cotton snow left over from Christmas. Who doesn’t love a good repurpose?


14. Kissing Booth 

The dollar tree can supply all the materials to create this absolutely adorable kissing booth. Big tongue depressors could also be an alternate option for material. It definitely provides a way to add your own creative flare. 


15. Heart Envelopes by I Heart Crafty Things

I’m pretty sure most folks have extra paper lying around whether decorative or not. Here’s an easy peazy way to make a folded heart into the actual envelope! Write your message and fold away!


16. Heart Frame by Fluster Buster

In my previous house, I had wanted to make a similar year round wall hanging with braches in a large frame. I never did end up doing it but still love this Valentines decor version. There are plenty of frames ready for repurposing at Goodwill for just such a purpose. 


17. Tissue Paper Rosette Ball by the Idea Room

I tend to have left over streamers from my girls’ birthday morning ‘surprise’ decorations. When I saw this idea, I couldn’t get over how simple of an idea it was using something I already had. I can’t wait to make my own!


18. Valentines Day Table Decorations by Cathartic Crafting 

Create some Valentine’s Day table decorations with materials you can likely find around your house, like acorns and wine bottles. I know I enjoyed it!


19. Bead Board Heart Vase by Simply Country Life

Here’s another idea I’ve done something similar with to hold my paint brushes, mason jar wall hangings. Most of the work lies in going to the store for supplies. 


20. DIY Dollar Tree Sign Makeover Using Craft Sticks by Lizzy and Erin

This Valentines decor is true farmhouse magic in a wooden frame. The combination of all the different ribbon material is the star here.

So that’s it, that’s all I wrote. I truly hope you found a few must do ideas here from all these creative bloggers. Hopefully, it helps you to slow down and focus your mind, or maybe lets it wonder aimlessly, if that’s what you are needing. Holidays certainly seem to put the pressure on, but if we take a step back to allow for some ‘me’ time, all things can be manageable. Here’s to current and future love!

Time and Money Saving DIY Floating Book Shelves

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved reading and owning books. That’s why I could totally relate to my oldest daughter’s request for book shelves. In our previous house, I had built her a recessed bookcase we both loved. As this Christmas inched closer with the expectation my daughter would be gifted more books, it was time to buckle down to give her a way to organize all the book stacks she had lined up on the floor. Although, I love a recessed bookcase, I didn’t want to dive into wall cutting and shelf building while caring for a newborn. That’s how I came to constructing easier and time effective floating book shelves. If you’re looking for a way to organize your own stacks, follow along below!

Floating Book Shelf Basics

Many of the floating shelves out there are quite thick for the elevated look of it and/or the hardware that is likely needed to support the shelf. Generally, I like the look of those shelves more than a thin wood shelf. As I was looking at examples of floating book shelves on Pinterest, I saw a post about L brackets, which really sparked for me. While considering how many shelves were desired in combination with the height of the wall and the cost, I ended up using a 1 in width instead of 2 in. After purchasing 1″ boards from Lowes, I was slightly concerned the boards would bow from the weight. After doing a quick test of the board strength by sitting on it while propped on two saw horses, I was confident the board would be fine. 

The other decision I had to make was the size of the brackets to get. L brackets are definitely cheaper than a decorative shelf bracket, which was part of the draw for me. I wanted to be sure the shelf had enough support while keeping cost down, so I ended up choosing the 6″ x 6″ brackets. 

Supply List

I determined the amount of length I would need for 9 shelves would be three 8′ boards or two 10′ boards. Lowes apparently doesn’t sell 10′ boards as a 1″ x 8″, so I had to get three 8′ boards. Then, I cut the boards the same width as the wall space, roughly 29″.  A word to the wise, it’s worth measuring the wall space several times. This is my second project using wall space to find that they weren’t exactly square. This meant the width at the top of the wall was 1/4 in wider than the bottom of the wall. 

The prep steps for this project were quite minimal, spray painting and staining. I used Rust-oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze I had from my Live Edge coffee table project. The screws should likely be sprayed as well to match. I should have sprayed them at the same time but didn’t. I ended up leaving the screws silver, because my daughter was hard pressed to get the shelves up. 

From there, it was just a matter of staining the shelves. I used a stain I already had on hand, Minwax Chestnut. I tend to like the darker colors better for most of my projects. When it comes to staining, you can use either a clean rag or a foam brush. I learned long ago from my mom to save disgarded white t-shirts for staining projects. Free is always fabulous. After many a stained hand, I have decided it’s worth buying a box of gloves for easier clean up. 

Shelf Attachment

The shelves were hardly dry before my daughter was carting them to her room for me to attach to the wall. This made for a very pungent upstairs since the smell lasts for days. I toggled between attached the brackets to the shelf first or to the wall first. I ended up attaching to the wall first with the thought I wouldn’t be able to screw in the bottom screw with the shelf attached. The easiest method, is to place the bracket against the wall, then draw the holes onto the wall. With the bracket off the wall, drill a hole into the stud. I didn’t necessary want to put the brackets at the end of the boards, but that’s where the studs were in the wall. Using anchors in the drywall wouldn’t be a good way to support the amount of weight books would create. 

After the first bracket was secured to the wall, it was important to level the shelf to ensure the right bracket would be in the correct spot. For me, the right bracket was so close to the connecting wall that the inner screw hole was just outside of the stud. Given I had two screws secured into the stud, I felt okay about one of them going into a drywall anchor. 

With the brackets secured to the wall, it was just a matter of screwing in the shelves. Wood screws are self drilling, which means you usually don’t have to pre-drill the hole. I didn’t want to risk creating a crack so close to the end of the board, so I opted to drill a hole prior to placing the screw. 

While I finished up the last of the shelves, my oldest and youngest daughters, shared some bonding time on the bed. How adorable are they?!

A Floating Book Shelves Must: Book ends

I would venture to say that floating shelves aren’t the first choice for books simply because there’s nothing to keep them from falling off the end. With this being the case, you either buy some book ends or you can go the cheap route of using the extra wood to make sliding book ends. I cut into the wood with the radial saw to knotch out a 13/16″ width. Then using a router, I cleaned up the cut, leaving about and inch or so at the end.

That’s all it took to keep the books from falling off the shelves.

Final Product

That’s all there is to creating your very own Floating Book Shelves! Go ahead and give it a try this weekend! It’s a given you will feel great for accomplishing a project and creating a way to organize your space. As noted in Can organizing impact your mental health?, “Your disorganization, unfinished projects, and piles of “to-dos” may be contributing to your stress and depression. As you work hard to clear away the piles and never-ending projects, your brain will rest easy and make it easier for you to feel relaxed and happy.” For this particular organization, you may also enjoy the chance to organize the books in a particular way. My daughter was excited to organize her books by author’s last name. Whatever floats your boat!

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Crafting Felt Mitten Garland Christmas Decor in a Snap

If you’re looking to spruce up your Christmas decor without breaking the bank on store-bought decor, look no further! This felt mitten garland is easy enough for novice crafters, kids, and is also fun for the experienced crafter. The best part is the materials are minimal and inexpensive. You can really let your creativity flourish with how involved or simple you decide to go with them.

Materials

Felt Mitten Garland in a Snap

The choice is yours as to how big or small you’d like to make your mittens. My mittens are fairly small for the simple fact that I think it’s cuter and I can fit more on one piece of felt. To cut down on time and to ensure you have matching fronts and backs, fold over the felt, before cutting out the mitten shape.

I chose to put a different color on the back of the green glove. (Mostly because I didn’t have enough of any one color for 4 sides.)

Sewing and Extra Decor

You don’t have to be an expert sewer for this task. All it takes is a needle and thread to sew around the edge of the mitten. I chose to go up through the bottom and wrap it around the outside. The alternative could be to go up through the bottom and back down through the top like a common sewing machine stitch. I also like the contrast of the white thread against the dark material.

Then, it’s time to spruce up the sewed mitten with whatever you choose. I had pompoms on hand so that was the obvious choice for me for this particular glove. Other mittens include cut out pieces of other felt colors.  Glue and glitter are another option as many other possibilities.

Initially, I used a brown twine but really liked this the red and white twist string I found on clearance. I don’t know about you but surfing the clearance aisle is a common occurrence for me. I tend to buy things I think I might be able to find use for in the future. The mini clothespins can then be attached to the string and mittens for hanging.

Finished Felt Mitten Garland

And with that, this felt mitten garland is complete. It’s an easy and quick craft for Christmas decor that you can complete by yourself or with friends or kids. Go for coordinating colors or all one color. Add holly or stockings to the string for a fun add on. The options are endless.

For more simple Christmas decor, check out these Popcorn Garland and Candyland Christmas Decor.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Affordable DIY Halloween Witch Cauldron

Bubble bubble toiling trouble. Holidays always get me excited for decorating. I think Halloween provides the best opportunity to try something new. This past Halloween, my mind was in over drive thinking about decorations I wanted to make. I really loved the bubbling cauldron look, so was excited to put my own spin on it. Follow along with this witch cauldron tutorial to make your own! 

Materials

Witch Cauldron

To save on the amount of spray foam needed, I cut a piece of cardboard to fit the inside rim of the cauldron. I usually have a stock of cardboard (supported by the increase in online purchases, thanks to the pandemic). As can be seen in the photo, small gaps are okay. I had to bend the cardboard in the middle a bit to get it into the inner rim. 

Paper Mache

My element of uniqueness was to hand a hand reaching out of the potion, which was scaling it back from the thought of using a styrofoam head sticking out as well. My first step was to create the hand using handy dandy paper mache. You are free to use whatever paper mache recipe floats your boat for this. I tend to go the easiest and cheapest route with a flour and water mixture. It admittedly isn’t quite as strong as a glue-based mix, but it certainly does the job. I used this same technique for my Candyland Lollipops for Christmas. Ultimate Paper Mache‘s site is a great source for recipes. There are five recipes here from which you can choose. After making the paste, cut or tear the newspaper into 1-inch strips.

If you have a willing volunteer, I’d definitely recommend using a hand that is not your own. I completed this on my left hand, so only had my right hand to do the work. Anyway, using the paper strips, dip them into the paper mache mixture and scrape off the excess. Wrap the paper mache strips around each finger and the rest of the hand. I recommend putting a solid layer all over.

It may be necessary to stuff it a bit to keep the shape while it dries.

Bubbling Potion

After using this “Great Stuff”, I definitely agree it’s great stuff. It could also be called “Super Easy” or “Crafting Gold”.  My 10 and 7 year olds enjoyed giving it a try. I started with spraying the base and spilling it over the sides. 

My little soccer player helped me out by holding the hand in place to look like it was reaching out of the cauldron. An argument could be made for the odd proportions, but I wasn’t worried about it. I guess I could have easily used one of my daughters’ hands. Live and learn. I sprayed the foam around the hand to get it to hold in place. With that, the bubbling was complete. 

Weather Protection

I was worried about the paper mache standing up to the weather outside, so I decided to use clay I made for another craft. To be honest, I shouldn’t have used this diy clay recipe and should have shifted to store bought clay. It was definitely a bit mistake on my part. It was too wet and loose, so it ended up making the paper mache hand soggy and saggy. I had to prop it up and use more clay than desired to give the saggy hand more shape. So, if anything, learn from my mistake and opt for the better store bought clay or maybe just a better recipe than I used that doesn’t included ingredients like baby oil. 

Using my airbrush, I painted the bubbling potion a lime green and gave it a second coat with darker green. I used my dremel to give the hand a more realistic look. Then, painted the hand and called it a day. To make this project even easier, you could quite honestly use a store bought Halloween hand. The path is yours to choose as far as how much DIY you want to do. 

Can Mistakes Be a Threat to Your Mental Health?

“Most people don’t like to make mistakes, but some people are more sensitive to errors than others, and that can make them more prone to anxiety…”

Greg Hajcak Proudfit, associate professor of psychology at Stony Brook University

I’m like anyone else and don’t care for making mistakes, especially when it effects my end results. I was kicking myself when I used the clay that I already had concerns. Sometimes, apathy and laziness get the best of me when I just want to knock things off my too long list of to dos. Apparently, there’s a region of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex that is stimulated by the recognition of mistakes and when it’s stimulated, the increase in activity is called error-related negativity (ERN). I found this particular paragraph from When Mistakes Are a Threat to Mental Health pretty interesting, 

“What makes some people prone to higher ERNs and therefore anxiety? The ERN is somewhat heritable; for instance, healthy individuals who have immediate family members with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder tend to have a larger ERN. But situational factors also affect ERN. In lab studies, Proudfit has shown that it’s possible to induce a higher ERN by “punishing” participants for errors, for example by playing a very loud and aggravating sound after the participant makes a mistake.”

I think it’s definitely something to keep in mind when considering how you respond to your own mistakes and the mistakes of others, particularly children. As the article goes on to describe, hostile responses to mistakes can increase the ERN tendency, which will lead to higher anxiety levels. Give yourself and others grace for those mistakes. If they can be overcome, then there’s always a lesson to use for the next time. 

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Create a Wow Factor in any Room with Easy Decorative Fretwork Panels

Home » Easy

While planning for our impending move, I was really looking to try some new things with the space. I came across some images for fretwork panels and was immediately hooked. Of course, I had to pass the idea through my husband. Thankfully, he also liked the look of them, so I had my ‘all clear’.

I did quite a bit of searching due to the variations in price and design. You can definitely get smaller panels. Given my chosen wall was quite lengthy, I was looking for larger panels. I admittedly did an abysmal job of predicting how much I would need to purchase. Due to the expense of the panels, it was absolutely hopeful thinking to order low and hope it covered enough. If I were to do it again, I probably would have gone with the fireplace wall in this same room simply for the cost savings. Definitely a live and learn moment for me. Regardless, it sure turned out pretty!

Fretwork Panel Supplies

My chosen paint color was Sherwin Williams Succulent from the Emerald Design color pallet. I was slightly worried the dark green would be too much in the space, but the whole family has really liked it. After a little looking at how others attached the fretwork panels to the wall, I found different versions of screws, glue, and tape. I opted for the tape below that has super good hold. I’m slightly worried about the day I want to take the panels down to repaint but will deal with that day when it comes. 

Easy as 1, 2, 3

It only takes four small cuts of the gooey double-sided tape in the corners to stick the panels to the wall. So easy that even my seven-year-old was able to help with this project. The tape has a plastic covering you have to peel off of the second sticky side. After 10 minutes of fighting with getting the plastic off the little cut strips, we smartened up. We pulled the plastic off a good portion of the tape and then cut the pieces. It was so much quicker that way. After creating our assembly line of tape cutter, tape placer, transporter, and leveler, we were lightning quick getting it up!

This next step is THE MOST IMPORTANT step of the whole thing; use a small level ON EVERY SINGLE PIECE. As you begin to place the pieces, it’s super easy to start by lining up the pieces along the ceiling and corners of the room. You’ll feel quite confident the panels are level doing so, but it’s still your best plan to level even those panels. For my chosen pattern, I had to measure the middle of the squared pieces to ensure the crosses would keep everything in line. I readily admit I was nervous to start this project thinking that it was going to be difficult to keep lined up. After just a few panels, it was a breeze and no worry at all. 

Level, Level, Level………………and Level some more

And below is when I ran out of panels (for a second time) to finish the bottom….

Easy Cuts to Finish off the Fretwork Panels Wall

After waiting another week for the next order to arrive, it was time to cut the panels to size. I used my old-school radial arm saw to get the job done. Some day, I’ll get some updated tools. 

The ultimate satisfaction; seeing the pieces fit in beautifully against the trim. 

Fretwork Panels Wall Finale

And with the last of the cut pieces in place, this project was completed. From a picture, it definitely looks like more of a stencil, so it definitely has more impact in person. I’m now toying with the idea of strategically placing pictures in the centers, so there may be an update in the future!

From removing clutter to adding art that speaks to your happy emotions, your living spaces can contribute to your mental health. We all feel a sense of comfort sitting in this room together as a family. As noted in the article, How to Optimize your Space for Your Mental Health,

While there are many ways to improve your mental health including therapy, meditation, exercise, hobbies, a healthy diet, and time spent with loved ones, there are also small things we can do to create a shift in our mood. One of those small things is tweaking the space in which we live and work. These small changes and tweaks can make a world of difference in your overall mental well-being.

Very Well Mind

Don’t delay in creating your happy places! Check out some other home designs; Rainbow Room, Calming Corner, or Teen Bedroom Design

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

From Crib Rail to Blanket Ladder in 6 Easy Steps

When the baby grows out of the crib, it’s time to find renewed purpose for the crib parts only the dump seems to take. After three babies, it was time for me to dismantle our hand me down crib. With all the new regulations, you literally can’t get rid of cribs that have lived through a growing family.  My recycling and repurposing side wouldn’t allow me to just trash anything but the mattress support. From there, it was just a matter of deciding what to do with the crib rail that sat in wait in the garage for years. 

I ended up being inspired by the numerous throw blankets and mermaid tails that remained a fixture in my 6 year old’s room. Her room was the smallest in the house and she was the least organized. Those blankets always seemed to be strewn around the floor. It was time to give her a throw blanket ladder!

Tool List

  • Circular Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Router and bit
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps

6 Steps to a Crib Rail Ladder

Step 1

This particular crib rail had a rounded top bar. Given that it didn’t match the bottom bar, I had to cut off the rounded end. While cutting it off, I also wanted to avoid chipping away the finish of the remaining edge. The best way to do that was to cover it in painter’s tape before starting to saw it off. With the tape in place, I used a circular saw to cut off the curve at the top. Thankfully, there was an indentation that I could use as my cutting guide.  It was also helpful to use an attachable saw guide to keep me completely straight while I went. Admittedly, I am not the best at sawing straight so I’ve come to rely heavily on guides to keep me on the mark. I’m crossing my fingers that refined skill will come with time and practice. 

crib rail start

Step 2

For step 2, a jigsaw was my best friend. It was time to cut off the extra rails so there would be enough space for the blankets. Using the jigsaw, I cut both sides of the bar as close to the top and bottom rail as I could. For your own project, you could certainly just leave as is at this point, if you don’t mind the extra width. I thought it was too much and wanted it to be narrower. So on to step 3 I went!

Step 3

This step was really quite simple. I used the jigsaw to cut the remaining bars from one side. The other side of the bars remained attached to the bottom of the crib rail. Then, it was just a matter of also cutting down the length of the bars to the width I wanted. 

Step 4

For such a small project, I certainly used a variety of tools. I pulled out my handy dandy Ryobi router for this step. It was important that the board stay in place while I routered the bar, so I put it in my clamp sawhorse. I used a keyhole bit that was the exact width of my bars to cut placement slots. It was pretty easy since I could use the previous spots as the guides.

Step 5

Using a miter saw, I cut the bottom of the post pieces at an angle so they would rest flat on the floor while leaning against the wall. 

Step 6

The final step was to use some wood glue in each slot before clamping it together to dry. Then it’s really up to you whether you paint it or not. I opted for gray for my crib rail blanket ladder.

Crib rail glued
One of my little helpers. With the constant calls for “mom”, it’s easy enough to get them to stick around to help for a few minutes.

Completed Crib Rail Blanket Ladder

Crib Rail Blanket Ladder in place

I would say that since the crib rail blanket ladder was put in her room, the blankets have been kept tidy….for the most part. I hope this quick run-through helped you make one of your own and you find it just as cathartic as I do to find renewed purpose in washed-up items! If you’re in need of other organization crafts (aka me time), check out Successfully Controlling Stuffed Animal Clutter with a Craft or 20 Brilliant Ideas for Decorating with Wooden Crates.

How to Make the Best Halloween Apothecary Jars

A few years ago, I couldn’t wait to start a collection of Halloween apothecary jars to add to my holiday decor. I started off with collecting regular food jars and random Goodwill finds to change into new and creepy decor. It doesn’t take much more than some simple materials to really get started.

Halloween Apothecary Jar Ideas

Materials:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Printer and Printer Paper
  • Clay
  • String
  • Paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Glue gun and Glue sticks
  • Food items: egg shells, Cantaloupe rind
  • Store bought creepy crawlers
  • Corks
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw

For this Ear of Troll I used the rind of some eaten cantaloupe. I gave it a week to dry out in the garage before closing it into the jar. I used a blank label in Word to type in the name. Mod podge was my go-to glue for all of these labels to get them to stick and to give it a coating for longevity. For this jar, in particular, used coffee filters served as the lid covering with string and craft glue decorating the jar curve.

Free label sites I used:

Spooky Apothecary Labels from Brooklyn Limestone

Free Halloween Bottle Labels from Holidappy 

Apothecary jar Labels from Halloween Forum

Rattle Snake Eggs

Similar techniques were used for these Rattle Snake Eggs Halloween Apothecary jar. The eggs were from a friend with chickens laying eggs in a variety of shades. Using a needle, I poked holes in both ends with one end being slightly larger to allow for the egg innards to be expelled. It’s also a lot easier to break up the yolk using the needle poked repeatedly through the holes. Once all that was done successfully without breaking the egg, I blew into the smaller hole to force the contents out the larger hole. Then I was ready to eat some scrambled eggs! I also gave the eggs a day to dry out a little more before coating them in Mod Podge.

Jellyfish Stingers

The same techniques are applied here for the outside. For the jellyfish stingers, I used hot glue on a baking pan. When it was cool, I was able to peel it off and stick it in the jar. 

Store bought creepy crawlers are center stage in this jars: Worms, mice and cockroaches anyone?

Clay Creations

Next up, for these three Halloween Apothecary jars, I used baking clay for the unicorn horn and bat wins and model magic for the fingers. I quite enjoy crafting clay creations. For the horn, I first rolled two equal ropes of clay. Then I twisted them together and rolled them on the counter to get a narrower pointed end. Presto! A lovely unicorn horn. I didn’t finish it off with glitter but it could definitely be a nice add.

Model magic is really easy to shape but doesn’t hold fine details like a real clay does. I used press on nails to give the real nail effect here. These lady fingers were complete with some painted on blood. You could really go grotesque with this if you want!

Pill Bottle Makeovers

These 5 bottles were all crafted from empty pill bottles. I used a saw to cut the tops off before sanding the smooth surface. The next step was to draw the label and image with hot glue. I used matte/satin paint in grays, browns, and black to paint all the bottles. Then, I glued on labels and string. 

Two Minute Snake Skin

For this lovely Halloween Apothecary jar of Snake Skin, I painted the jar with a few different colors of cheap acrylic paint that matched with the coloring of the label. (The color of the label being the result of a malfunctioning printer. The Lord knows the amount of angst that printer caused me at the end of its life.)   Generally for painting all the lids, I sanded them first to ensure the paint would adhere.

The actual innards of the jar were a combination of plastic wrap and hot glue. I cut a rectangle of the plastic wrap and laid it over the foil to protect the counters. From there, I glued a snake skin-esk pattern onto the plastic wrap. I noticed that as the glue got hotter, the plastic wrap shrunk more, which I was not so much a fan of seeing happen. If I were to do this again, I would do a portion, then unplug the glue gun for a 15 second cooling. Then repeat until finished. 

I got the free label for this jar from: 

Halloween Apothecary with 9 FREE potion bottle labels

I hope you gathered some of your favorite ideas for crafting some of your very own Halloween Apothecary Jars. If you’re looking more spooky Halloween decor, check out my Spooky Halloween Book Covers.

Super Simple Succulent Decor Ideas for a Struggling Plant Mom

This quote pretty accurately describes my feelings about succulents and other plants. In doing some research, I found this article on the 11 Ways Plants Enhance Your Mental and Emotional Health from Psychology Today. Take a look at #7; Higher levels of creativity! Who doesn’t love succulents and cacti? This article on the Top 8 House Plants to Help with Mental Health explains why those plants in particular help with your mental health. During these uncertain times, it’s definitely necessary to do what you can to keep stress and anxiety at bay. With that being said, who’s ready to put together some succulent decor?!

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy succulents! And that is pretty much the same thing.

-Unknown

Time to Run through Three Succulent Decor Ideas

Simplicity at it’s Best

Cacti Succulent Decor

This simple set up comes by the way of Lowe’s gardening center, Michaels’ rocks, pots from a failed potting present and Target. The rocks were my attempt at creating a more prosperous environment for hen and chicks after many deaths. It sadly failed just like those before it. At some point, I will figure out how to keep them alive, but for now, I decided I’d be best to stick with simpler cacti for a bit. This bluish-gray platter was on clearance at Target and a perfect fit for these pots. So far, I’ve been able to keep these cacti alive by spritzing them with water I spray these cacti with a spray bottle once a week. The flowers have stuck around for months, so I’m at last doing something right. 

Long Lasting Succulent Decor

When my daughter said she wanted to have succulent decor in her ‘new’ room, I pushed for the fake variety for her. I initially found some individual stems at Big Lots months before, but we needed more than what I’d gotten. We went on a little mother-daughter shopping trip to Michaels. My oldest is talented in a great many ways but doesn’t typically go the crafting route with me as my other two girls do. It was a nice time to get away and pick out some items for her to put together. She picked out the extra succulents, the glass container, and the sand color. 

All that was needed was to throw the sand into the glass and arrange the succulents as she liked. I enjoy the look of this angled bowl combined with the varying heights of the succulents. In order to achieve that, we had to cut the thick stems with wire cutters to make it all work together. You can see it in her renewed room here…

Easy Square Plant Hanger

A little woodworking never hurt anybody…. Just kidding, it definitely could, if you’re not careful. This square hanger is super simple and involves a wee bit of woodworking.

Materials

  • 1″ x 3″ x 6″ pine
  • Wood Glue
  • Paint or stain
  • Hook
  • Small planter hanger
  • A Plant
  • Nail Gun
  • Saw (I used this arm saw, but any variety of saws could cut the 4 pieces of wood.)

There are only a few steps for this project. 15 minutes and you could be finished with all four steps

  1. Cut the wood to size. Two 10 inch long pieces and two 8 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Put wood glue on the ends of the top and bottom pieces.
  3. Use a nail gun to nail the top and bottom in place.
  4. Stain/paint it

I found this wood tint and plant holder (seen below) at an A.C. Moore going out of business sale. Those items inspired me to make this rustic wood holder. I hadn’t used ‘wood tint’ before this, so figured I’d give it a go. Even after using it, I’m wasn’t quite sure what the difference was between it and stain, because they seemed mostly the same to me. Given that, I did a quick internet search. I found a post from Repurpose and Upcycle that provides an awesome explanation of the two and when to use one over the other. The wood tint seemed to provide good initial coverage based on this first experience. It also dried quickly, which keeps for the quick and easy strategy here.

I found these river rocks at Lowe’s as well. Simple is the name of the game. Put the plant in and spoon the rocks in around it. Then, it’s ready to put the hook into the ceiling of the square. It’s best to pre-drill a hole for the hook but it can also just be screwed in without it. The rope that came with the glass globe was too long, so I used some twine I had on hand. I also preferred the look of the twine, so it was a win-win.

Final Succulent Decor

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed the simplicity of these ideas. Two of them can be found in my daughter’s newly made-over bedroom. To read more, click here…

Don’t forget that plants help with stress reduction, so go ahead and place them in areas where you tend to feel a little more stressed. I guess that’s why I love keeping them in my office.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Super Simple to make DIY Hexagon Shelf for Personalized Decor

Hexagons are in and squares are out! It’s time to jump on the new trend wave with this DIY Hexagon Shelf. After updating my oldest daughter’s room, I knew this shelf would be the perfect compliment to her freshly painted wall. Don’t you think?!  You could certainly buy one for $30 plus, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this easy $10 project is the way to go.

Super Simple Supplies

These pre-sanded boards were ready for cutting. Doesn’t get much better than not having to stand.

If you’ve read some of my other woodworking posts, you’ve likely seen that I tend to use some older tools or am making do with what is available. This project is no exception. I’d love to get a new miter saw with all the bells and whistles but just can’t bring myself to spend money on it yet. This used radial arm saw was cheap and available, so that is how I came to have it. Anyway, it does the job. If you are new to woodworking and/or the whole tool game, you can be reassured you don’t have to have all the newest fancy gadgets to make neat functional projects.

Time to cut some wood!

First up, was figuring out how to utilize the size of the board. In order to maximize the boards at their current length, I decided to make each side 12 inches long. That meant I was cutting 3 of the boards in half and the other two would be cut for the shelves. 

The sides need to be cut at a 30-degree angle on each end of the boards. I’ll be totally honest here when I admit I couldn’t bring forth enough of my geometry memory to figure out the angle. Google was my friend in this instance. It makes me feel like I need to brush up along with my children as they learn it! While making the angled cuts, just make sure you’re not cutting off any length by cutting only the squared edge off.

I made the shelves 17 1/2 inches long to give more space to the middle shelf. The shelf boards also need to be cut at a 30 degree angle on both ends. It’s an option to save the hassle of angled cuts and nailing at an angle by cutting the shelves at a straight edge to attach to have hexagon with straight sides.

Testing out my angles. Looks good!

Hexagon Shelf Trick

Here’s a fun little trick to keep it all together. It’s not as strong a method as using something like ratchet straps, but I think more people have painter’s tape at the ready. Stretch out the painter’s tape, then line up the boards in a row. Put some wood glue into the crack and pull up the end. It’ll pull together as you go.

For those with little experience with glue and staining, I’ll let you in on a little secret. If you plan on staining the wood, you’d better take a wet cloth to the wood to clean off any trace of wood glue. If you don’t, it won’t stain properly. So, after you wipe the glue off, you’re best to leave the octagon to dry. I will tell you that I didn’t wait for it to dry, so it was a tad difficult to nail it firmly because of the shifting angles.

Time to bring out the nail gun

After the limited sawing and gluing, it’s time to nail it all together. My nail gun was jammed, so I borrowed my neighbor’s. His was better than mine because it had an arrow pointing at where the nail would come out. Mine doesn’t have that lovely little feature…because…mine is cheap. I’m very near buying a better one. I seem to use a nail gun a lot more than I’d ever anticipated so seems like a worthwhile purchase to me.

The hardest part was nailing the shelves in the right spot. Honestly, I didn’t want to wait for the glue to dry at the time. It would have been easier to have waited to nail it after it was set with glue.

Final Stretch for the Hexagon Shelf

All that’s left to do is paint it. My daughter picked pink out of my spray paints. It ended up not matching well with the pink on her wall, so we ended up spray painting it gray.

Shelf brackets nailed into the back were the finishing touch. I have found the easiest way to hold the tiny nails is with needle-nose pliers. You just hold them there while you hammer.

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