Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Ten DIY Projects of the Year

To ring in the new year I want to re-cap my all time favorite Top Ten DIY projects of the year.  It has almost been one year since I started this blog so to celebrate I want to show off (one more time) my favorite projects so far.

In no order at all I will list them for you (with links of course).

Number 1: Poinsettia Pillow

A lot of people love this project and they went over well as Christmas gifts I must say.  I have the full direction on how to make them here so be sure to head over and see what to do to make your own for next year (you can never be too early).

Number 2: Gift Card Wallets

These were also great gifts this year.  I loved making these and although they were a lot of work the reward was great.  I gave them to three different women and they all loved them.  What a perfect thing for your purse when you get a lot of gift cards.

Number 3: I-Pad Cover

I really enjoyed making these.  They did not sell at the craft fair but the two family members who have iPads loved them.  I think they may sell online if I ever get a shop together.  Go here to get directions on how to make them.

Number 4: Lavender Laundry Soap

This post was very popular when I first started.  People really loved the recipe (which I got from another blog and is linked to on the post) but overall it was just a beautiful powdered soap I made. The jar has since fallen off my washer and shattered (...shattered...)  so I'm back to liquid soap but it was a good idea while it lasted.

Number 5: Thanksgiving Centerpiece

I love that I used produce to make the centerpiece for my thanksgiving dinner.  Everyone loved it and it was totally inspired by Pinterest.

Number 6: Updated Curtains

 I was tired of my plain white curtains so I added a piece of fabric on the bottom, I think this really updated the whole look of the window treatments in the dining room.  I love this project.  So easy but so effective.

Number 7: Reupholstered Chair

I'm so proud of my reupholstered job on this chair.  It was my first try and I did it well.  I'm still amazed every time I go into the guest room.

Number 8: Blue Dresser

It took me three tries to get just the right blue for  this dresser, but boy do I love how it came out.  I think the touches of gold are just right.  I have a new dresser I want to paint (maybe next spring).

Number 9: Hand-painted Shower Curtain 

I used a great stencil and fixed up a store bought shower curtain on the cheap.  I still love it almost a year later.  Way to go (if I do say so myself, lol).

Number 10: DIY Bulletin Board

This was the first really successful project I made.  I still have it, I still love it and I still think it is great.  I may make more, who knows.

So there you have it, my top ten all time favorite DIY projects of 2011.  Here's hoping I have some good ones for next year as well.  If I have Pinterest to inspire me it should be a good year.

What about your craft projects dreams any great ambitious ideas or just a bunch of little things you hope to achieve?  I would love to know what you plan for 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!  

Happy holidays from Designed by Chance!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Just in Time for Christmas

I got all the presents wrapped just in time for Christmas.  I went super simple this year.  Each year I like to wrap the presents with a different theme.  Most years it has been gold and red (I like gold and red for Christmas), but this year I wanted some of the very popular baker's twine.

I just love that twine.  I actually caused a bit of a stir in the house because I asked Jeff if I could buy it and when he heard with shipping it would cost around $20.00 he said no.  But I decided it would make more sense to buy the twine than the same amount for wrapping paper, ribbon, and bows so I bought it anyway.  When I told him he was only slightly upset and said I had to give him kisses to repay him.  (Of course that was not a problem at all, I love to give my honey kisses.)

I already had the brown paper from a huge roll I bought two years ago for painting (it is a good way to cover the ground).  So I was all set for my wrapping.

Each family member has a different first initial so the labels were super easy.  I used my handy printer, some resume paper and my wonderful puncher.

My mother-in-law only saw the tops of the packages when we arrived in town yesterday and was a little skeptical about using brown paper to wrap the presents.  Then later, after dinner, she saw all the presents out under the tree and she goes "The presents really look nice!"  It was so funny because she truly sounded surprised that they could look so good with just brown paper and baker's twine.  I think it is the magic of the twine.

I love to use different themes for Christmas wrapping.  What about you?  Do you just use whatever you got on sale form the year before or do you do something special each year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

One Week 'Till Christmas (a little late)

I'm so excited for Christmas.  I love the whole thing.  The lights, the tree, the food, and of course we can not forget the presents.  This year it took us a while but we got our tree and I got the house all decorated.

I was out of the country last year for Christmas doing research for my Master's thesis so this will be the first time we celebrate Christmas in the new house.  I made Jeff get a huge tree

I like to decorate the tree in red and gold.  This year we got the star for the top.  I love to put a star on the top of the tree because it seems fitting for Christmas.  We are not big on the religious aspect of Christmas (I was raised a Buddhist) but I do think that when we celebrate what is for me a celebration of light in the darkest time of the year, a star is fitting.  

Besides the glass and what Target calls "shatterproof" balls (meaning they were not glass) we have a few very special ornaments.

I got these large angels at a yard sale in the middle of the summer.  I got four of them and they always make me so happy when I see them.

I have a little thing for angels in crescent moons (it is a long story).

I got this star at a craft fair.  I love how it shines in the Christmas lights.

My sister-in-law made this one for me.  I don't have a lot of things with my name on it (it is not like you will find one in the nearest Hallmark Store).  I love this little snow man.

This one is my very favorite one.  This was another gift form the sister and brother-in-law.  We got it the first year we married.  I keep it on the top of the tree so it does not get broken.

This year we got stockings.  Again they are embroidered.  I just love the special place for our names.  Pottery Barn had a sale so they were not even too expensive.

I also decorated the banister with ornaments.

So that is my house for the holidays.  I will leave you with one last picture.

What do you do for the holidays?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Dream Kitchen

I have a board on Pinterest that is titled My Dream Kitchen and it has all the dreams I hold for a perfect kitchen.

Out of all 54 pins most of them show beautiful white cabinets and marble counters.  I have a deep obsession with white cabinets and marble counter tops.  Although I'm not always faithful to the marble.  Sometimes I think about wood counters or even stainless steal.  But out of everything the white stays.

My kitchen right now had 1980s leftover cabinets in light pine.  I'm not happy with them.

This is what I want (or one image anyway).

I love how the cabinets go all the way to the ceiling and have glass.  I also love the ladder but my kitchen is too small.

This kitchen also has the glass doors on the upper cabinets, cabinets to the ceiling and MARBLE counter tops.  Not crazy about the horse above the stove though (who would do that to such a nice kitchen?).

This is the perfect image of the kind of sink I want.   A big country kitchen bib sink (I think that is what they are called) which is mounted under the marble counters.  This image just takes my breath away.

I also love this kitchen sink.  I love that this one has the large piece that comes up in the back.  I'm always splashing water up there and this would save a lot of my water from damaging the back splash 

I also love open shelving.  I'm thinking of taking off the doors on a couple of my shelves to give them a more open feel on the cheap.  Then I could paint the inside of the shelves a different color.  I love the pops of blue here, but you could really use any color and it would look good with the white.

This kitchen has darker counters and a contrasting island.  That may work.  Remember this is my dream kitchen I can change my mind (lol).

Just to further complicated the counter top issue.  I have a bunch of pins for wood counters.  I have a lot of wood in my house (the molding and stairs to name a few) so I thought wood counters would (ha) tie in the rest of the house.

 I love a lot about this kitchen.  The skirt under the sink is cute as well as the chalk board in the back.  I think this kitchen has a lot of charm and is less "magazine polished" than the others.

This final image is different in that it is an image of a kitchen that was hand painted and comes from a blog not a magazine.  I love the wood counters here.  It seems to warm up the kitchen.  We can't afford any of this right now, but if I had my way I might just go for the wood counters it is more warm and homey and way less expensive.  Just don't ever cut on your counters it will mess them up!  

What is on your list for a dream kitchen?

  The DIY Show Off

Friday, December 16, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Easy Way to Give Thanks

As you know I hosted Thanksgiving this year.  Included in my decorations I made this little project to get people thinking about what they were thankful for.

I asked my guests to write on the origami paper what they were thankful for and then to roll it up and put it in the bowl.  At the end of the evening we all took turns opening the rolled notes to read what we were all thankful for.  It was a nice way to end the evening.

This project took so little time.  I bought the paper already cut small, cut a few strips of ribbon to tie the rolls and provided the pens and bowl.  The rest was up to the guests.

We usually just go around the table and list things we are thankful for, but this way people could list more than one thing if they wanted.  My father-in-law had many reasons to be thankful this year and helped me fill up the bowl.

Overall, this was a successful little project and something you may want to try next year.

How do you give thanks on Thanksgiving? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Produce Centerpieces

I hosted thanksgiving for the first time this year.  It was really fun.  I got to invite one of my best friends and her husband and they hung out with my family.  Overall, it was a a very successful holiday.

One thing I love about throwing a party is that I get to decorate the house.  So, for Thanksgiving I used fresh produce as the inspiration for the centerpieces and then made a little crafty project for the "Thanks" part of Thanksgiving.

I made these candle holders out of rutabagas and large apples.  Because it was thanksgiving I made them a couple of days in advance and they held up really well in my spare refrigerator in the basement.  Even the apples did not brown noticably.  If you want to be extra sure they don't brown you can always cover the exposed flesh of the apples with a little lemon juice.

The first thing you must do is gather your supplies.  In my case it was apples, rutabagas, votive candles, a large knife, a small pumpkin carving knife (left over from Halloween), and a melon baller.

I used the size of the votive candle as the template for the initial cut with the pumpkin knife.

I then carved out the hole with the melon baller.
You have to really work hard to get the core of the apple out (and I never knew this but rutabagas are hard), but it can be done.

After carving out the whole apple so that the candle fits inside I just stuck the candle in it and put it away for the day of.  Really it was quite simple.

What I love is how beautiful it came out in the end.

Be sure to check back in a day or two for the post on how to put a little "Thanks" in Thanksgiving.

So what did you do for thanksgiving centerpieces, or do you let the food do the talking?

 Where I Party:

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