Crafty, Do-It-Ourselves

Tackling the closet in Eleanor’s room.

The last remnants of the terra cotta paint color on the inside of her closet door.  This color was the color of the whole room when we bought this house 17 years ago.  First we painted it yellow for the baby, see below, and then purple, white, and silver for the 10 year old.  While Eleanor was on a visit to grandma’s with Jamie, I decided to tackle the closet.  You can see the floor was in bad shape too.

The built in drawers are a cute feature and the all-white paint didn’t help them any.  I was looking for a way to not spend any money but to clean out and deep clean the woodwork in her closet.

I used teal paint that was left-over from a deck project.








Eleanor’s Room Re-do for her 10th Birthday Present

It has been 10 years since we painted Eleanor’s room to welcome our baby girl.  I wanted a soft, warm, yellow color for the walls to work as a back drop.  We then could add other colors and styles to the room.  I was inspired by a Mary Engelbreit’s eclectic nursery with many colors and patterns.  cwvDm9asA3Lw9atmAbl5etGTDgI tried to stay away from pink was surprisingly difficult in anything feminine.

I made curtains, and hand painted storage boxes to match the Carter’s crib line, Peaceable Kingdom by John Lennon.  It had a charming giraffe and no pink to be found.


The room morphed over the years from baby to big girl,  but the wall color remained the same.  Her soft oranges gave way to more reds and her greens to lavender.

When our ten-year-old wanted a loft bed and a bedroom re-do for her birthday, it did seem time to re-paint.

Her four-year-old drawing (in sharpie) of our back garden was finally going to be covered over.  photo 3-16photo 2-16
Eleanor’s loft bed from Ikea came in a brushed chrome color so this gave us permission to bring her room into a more modern vibe.  Eleanor chose the wall colorings and I was very happy she chose white for one of the walls.  I don’t love white walls, we didn’t have one in our house, but it was a great break from the bold purple and shiny silver. photo 3-17

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Eleanor helped by cleaning out her room, going through her things and deciding what to get rid of and what to sell in a yard sale.  The silver wall and shelves took three coats of paint.

It feels good to be done with the clean out, and I’m writing this as I sit in my very dead yard sale.  It will feel really good when all of this stuff is gone from our house…. and it’s back to being tidy!

Tie Dye

Every other summer, dear friends of ours,  host a tie dye party in their back yard.  It is always a great time and enjoyable craft.  In preparation, I order white cotton items from Dharma Trading.  photo 4-8

Darcy, pictured here, is a chemist and has all the right supplies to mix the supplies.  She also brews beer, so there is plenty to off set the heat of a garden party.  The music choice?  The Dead of course.

Every year I try to buy a couple of colors that I know we’ll want to use and to help off-set the cost.  Darcy and Lynne provide a very nice selection of colors, cotton string for tying, and three separate stations set up in their yard.

photo 4-7Most of us wear tie died garments from years past.  When we are all milling around in our bright colors on a sunny day, I imagine we look like a kaleidoscope in the back yard. photo 1-15




Eleanor made two tie dye shirts, as purple is her color-of-the-year.   She tie dyed a short sleeve shirt and a zipper hoodie.

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Greeting Card Boxes

While visiting my Aunt Betty Eleanor sat down with her to make a craft.  It was so sweet to see Eleanor with her great Aunts,  Betty and Marsha.  The little boxes she made turned out beautifully.  Aunt Betty was impressed with Eleanor’s ability to catch on right away and start improving on the original by adding a handle to help open the little boxes.

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Wine Cork Bulletin Board

photo 2-11Eleanor and her friend Jojo looked in the craft box and found the stash of wine corks.  It was Eleanor’s idea to make a bulletin board out of them.  She had seen it done before.  Luckily I had some old frames lying around the basement.  The girls had a great time with glue, cardboard, wine corks, and frames.  It was a bit daunting to see how many corks I had amassed over the year.





photo 1-2Cement Leaves

Last summer I took a class in making cement leaves (for yard art) with my friend George.  We enjoyed the class and walked away with a couple of leaves, but the best part was knowing we could recreate the process in an even more enjoyable atmosphere. Every time I take a class or make a craft without Eleanor, she wants to do it.

That’s what we did this week.  George came over to our house and we gathered in the back yard.  Eleanor invited her neighbor friend,  Josephine.   Josephine is a great crafter and she and Eleanor enjoy working on projects together.  photo 3The girls began with a (smaller sized) practice mold; each placing cement on a hosta leaf.  George was very patient showing them how to layer on the cement a little bit at a time and then making sure it was think enough without running over the edges.  The girls  graduated to the big leaves… rhubarb!  Josephine had a plan to make a bird bath.  George showed Josephine how to make a tall mound of sand to prop up the rhubarb leaf.  That way when it was inverted it would have a deep bowl.

George and I drank some patio pink wine and made several leaves ourselves.   I was thinking of gifts and adding to a small collection in my front yard.  George has a large and beautiful yard, so has many uses for her leaves including hanging them from a wall.

Mixing the cement is the hardest part of the craft….. as you have to keep the batches small on a hot summer day.

It takes some patience to let the cement harden slowly, and file any rough edges.  It can be painstaking to take the leaf off of the concrete.  For such a rudimentary craft, the finished product really looks beautiful.  Hard to beat working with mother nature.

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Eleanor:  I thought it was a fun project.  I liked knowing that I was making something that could end up very pricey and even good enough to sell….   These two leaves are the ones I made.

5 thoughts on “Crafty, Do-It-Ourselves

  1. Ooooh, those cement leaves are beautiful, totally cool! I’m not sure I’d have the patience for this project (well, the self-discipline to not try to rush things!), but it’s fun to think about. Thanks for sharing, you two; love the blog!

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