Five on Friday, March 24th

5 on Friday best of the week

Hi Friends! What sort of plans have you got for the weekend? Myself, I’m the type who delights in planning to have no plans, but I do have a couple of projects I’m hoping to finish. I’d also like to get a start on cleaning up the yard if the weather co-operates. We will see what happens!

I’m going to start this weeks Five on Friday with these amazing Mid-Century chairs from Marie at Frugalista. All of her pieces have an amazing style that I adore, and you really should take a look at these armchairs. Marie covered them in a gorgeous retro floral that works perfectly for her MCM armchairs. You can see it >here<.

Now what about some sweet floral bunny tea towels for Easter? With a ruffled hem and pom-pom tails they’re probably more decorative than useful, but they’re too pretty to dry dishes anyhow. Flamingo Toes has the tutorial >here<, and I bet you have a couple of floral fabric scraps in your stash that would be perfect!

Then there’s these painted wooden tulips! Perfect to add a pop of color to your Easter displays and they were super cheap to make too. You can find the details >here<.

If you’re more Industrial than MCM, then you really must check out this printer cart tutorial. And who says you have to make it a printer cart? That’s the beauty of DIY, making what you need for where you need it right? You can see it >here<.

And for my last share – check out this sweet bunny collage! I am loving these button collages. Perfect for any season and a great way to use up a button stash if you’ve got one. If not, check your craft section for bags of buttons sold by color. You can see it >here<.

Happy Friday and happy crafting!

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Foldover Cross-Body Bag

I am so happy with this cross-body bag I made! If you’ve got a keen eye, you’ll see I’ve once again used the MCM atomic prints created by Joe of Ambient Wares – you can download it for free >here< and see the adorable MCM plant stands they made with it! They even have hairpin legs!

Printing on Fabric with a laser printer!

I printed their designs on fabric using a black & white laser printer.

So what you do is tear off a piece of freezer paper and with your iron set to highest setting (which unless you have a commercial/professional iron is nothing) and the steam off, press the shiny side of your freezer paper to your fabric.

Once it’s attached, trim your fabric/paper sandwich to either letter (8.5″ x 11″) or legal sized (8.5″ x 14″). I used legal for the bag. Go over all the edges again with your iron making sure it’s firmly attached together all the way around. Be especially certain at the edge that will feed into the printer.

Use a sticky lint roller to make sure there are no loose threads or lint on the side you are printing. Set your printer to print best quality and using your bypass tray, print your design on the fabric. The freezer paper backing should just peel away.

I did some test pieces and washed them to test if the design would be colorfast. I discovered as long as you go over the design with a hot iron first to set it, on my fabric the design stayed through washing.

Making the cross body bag.

This is just an overview, I want to tweak the pattern and test it a bit more before I do a full tutorial, but I purchased 1/2 meter each of my 3 different fabric choices.

I had already drafted my pattern the night before, so I pinned everything out and cut my pieces.

With no clear right or wrong side, I kept questioning if I had it right. I expected the pieces to look more like the pieces of a puzzle when they were side by side.

I interfaced the exterior fabrics and pocket linings with fusible interfacing. There was a time I would have had black interfacing for my dark fabric, this time I had only white and it worked out fine.

I attached my accent piece to the top of each plain piece to make the front and back of the bag.

Then I marked out the zipper placement on the pocket lining.

Here is the lining turned to the inside of the bag.

How it looks on the outside. More lighting would have been nice!

Zipper placement!

Pin the bag at the corners and seams, right sides together. Don’t sew the notch between the pins.

Press everything open.

Shift the fabric around, seams together and sew across the notch to shape the bottom of the bag.

Here I’m inserting the zipper and interior pocket.

You sew it into a pocket after inserting the zipper. Once I had the zipper in, I sewed the lining together in the same way as the exterior, but with an opening left in the side for turning.

The strap is adjustable so you can use it as a regular purse but I prefer the convenience of a cross-body bag. I love this sparkly webbing.

Here you can see how the exterior pocket is under the flap. I love how nicely the lines & dots atomic pattern and the lining fabric play together.

The buckle is rather cool, even if the quality was somewhat disappointing.

I’m so happy with the way this cross-body bag came together! I can’t wait to share the pattern and a full tutorial with you!

Atomic Style Planters for Fellow MCM Geeks

For the MCM geeks - Atomic Style Planters!

I’m just going to say it – I’m a complete geek for all things MCM, especially the Atomic style patterns of the day. Fortunately for me, so are Joe and Angie of Ambient Wares and Joe created two amazing patterns you can download for free >here<!

I have so many ideas for these patterns, but the first thing I did with them was make some darling planters for my growing collection of succulents.

Clay pots with an amazing Atomic graphic

Initially, I painted two pots white and another two turquoise. I decoupaged Joe’s pattern to the rims of my pots. Unfortunately, when I sprayed them with sealer, the color of the clay bled through the white paint, making it appear dirty next to the bright white patterned rims. So I masked off the decorative rim and hit them all with the spray paint – Rustoleum Chalked in Serenity Blue – which turned out to be a perfect MCM color.

Planting a Dish Garden with Succulents

Choose a pleasing arrangement for your plants

Once everything was dry and sealed time for the fun! The thriller, filler, spiller rule applies to dish gardens as well as outdoor planters. I created a pleasing arrangement, then I used my favorite planting trick.

Place empty pots in planter as space holders

Gently remove the plants from their pots and then place the empty pots as space holders.

add soile and tamp down

Add soil and tamp in place around the empty pots.

Remove the pot leaving a planting hole

Take out one of the pots and there’s your planting space.

pop a plant in

Pop a plant in and move to the next ‘space’.

Continue until it's all planted

Here you can see the finished arrangement with a few more plants added in.

Small planter

One of the smaller pots, still using the formula of thriller, filler, spiller. I love the way this little pot came together with the delicate blue trailer, the fuzzy leaves of the filler and the spiky dark green height behind.

Another small planter

Here is another small pot. Check out Jaws in there!

Some of my collection

This little table used to be my play table as a kid. Now it sits beside my desk under a window.

the smaller pots in my wicker shelf

This little wicker thrift store shelf hangs above.

with the mini turtle

It’s also home to my mini turtle topiary.

All together now

these little pots make me happy

These little pots with their ‘Atomic’ patterned rims make me happy.

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Easy Changes for Better Photos

Make these easy changes for better photos!

As a blogger, taking better photos is a skill I am constantly working on. If you’re like me and still working on those photography skills, there are a few simple things you can do in your environment to improve your photos.

Create a photo studio!

I get it, that sounds completely over the top pretentious, but bear with me. Think about the last time you had professional photos taken. There were lights, there was a back drop and there were props and the pictures were great. Now if I can make all of that happen in my tiny little house most likely anyone can.

Designate a space

The first step is to set aside a space for taking photos. This is so important for bloggers because we are working in our homes where daily life continues to happen. Who wants to scramble around hiding that load of laundry waiting to be folded or the dishes you haven’t yet got to so you can take that picture you need for your next post?

This was one of the biggest driving forces behind my closet to craft space makeover, and it has been awesome to have an area that is ‘photo shoot’ ready. Life happens, and it happens a lot at my house so having this one space for taking pictures removes tons of frustration from my blogging life.

Improve your lighting

This is probably one of the biggest things you can do to improve your photos – add more lighting.

If I lived in the US this would be my first choice for lighting (affiliate link), but this same item is nearly 3 times as much in Canada.

Flood light with LED bulb equivalent to 75w

So I did the next best thing with two of these clamp on lights*. and LED bulbs equal to 75 watt flood lights. (*affiliate link)

Here are a series of photos that clearly show the difference these two floodlights make.

Notice that the photos with flash are never as nice as the ones without? And that is during the day! Because I work during the day, I take most pictures for my blog at night and without the extra lighting they always have a yellow cast to them.

Get some Props!

My house is a work in progress, so a lot of my rooms have horrible flooring or worse, painted plywood. I have two placemats that simulate the look of wood flooring. I also have a panel that looks like tile for ‘kitchen’ shots. The boxwood ‘hedge’ in the background is plastic greenery tiles that I picked up at the dollar store.

One last thing…

Probably the number one thing you can do to improve your photos is get a tripod. I am assuming you already have a decent camera, but even if you’re still using your phone for pictures, get a tripod. I found the one I use at a thrift store but I’m sure there are newer ones with more bells and whistles.

If you are looking for more photography tips, consider following me on Pinterest where I pin the very best I find on my Images and Graphics board. Bloggers are usually helpful people, and a lot of them have published tools, tips and hints on this very topic so you can be sure I’ll have more to pin.

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5 on Friday, Best of the Week

5 on Friday best of the week

It’s Friday! Every week I come across awesome DIY’s and crafts, this week I’m sharing my favorites of the week.

Floating shelves that are secret drawers!

My house is tiny so I’ve got shelves in nearly every room so we have places to put our stuff. How handy would it be to have drawers in all of them? Sure it’s a shallow drawer but it would still be useful – gift cards, important files, kids artwork (I had boys, they each gave me one single piece of artwork in all of their school years), jewelry, the list is endless. Not Just a Housewife has a full DIY on her Reclaimed Wood Floating Shelves – with secret drawers.

Tin Can Fairy Houses

Fairy houses have been all the rage in garden centers for a few years now, with the accessories getting more and more elaborate. So seeing two cute little fairy houses that looked as if they were straight from a ‘Borrowers’ book is cool. The little houses are darling too. Dazzled While Frazzled has a tutorial on how to turn tin cans into fairy garden houses here.

Decorative Ribbon Easter Egg

Usually instructions to make ribbon flowers involve some form of tedious hand-sewing but not this tutorial! Not a single sewing needle in sight and still there are pretty ribbon flowers to make. Purple Hues and Me has the tutorial for you – Decorative Ribbon Easter Egg DIY.

Kitty Rice Heating Pack

I have a Magic Bag and that thing is amazing for stiff necks, back aches and cold feet, but after a few years it’s looking pretty disgusting! A Beautiful Mess has a tutorial so you make a Kitty shaped one! For the full DIY click here.

DIY MCM Plant Stands – with Printables!

This was my absolute favorite of the week. I am a huge MCM geek and so are Angie and Joe of Ambient Wares. Joe created two amazing Atomic Patterns that you can download, but he didn’t stop there. He also made two plant stands in the classic boomerang shape and then, because that wasn’t enough awesome, he made hairpin legs for them out of hangers! Clearly if you love MCM you must head over to Ambient Wares and check out their darling plant stands for yourself!

For more great craft and garden DIY’s check my Pinterest boards, Facebook, or now – Twitter!

Happy Friday – make it a great one!