Get Your Own Kick in the Pants – Duluth Trading Company contest

duluth_outfit

PHG_kick-in-pants_duluth

People often ask me how I do it all. How do I find the time to DIY, blog, parent, and keep up with housework. I am here to tell you that I don’t do it all! I don’t usually cook amazing meals for the family. In fact, we’ve had nachos or chicken nuggets more than I’d like to admit. Laundry does pile up, but somehow I get it shoved in the washer and dryer twice a week. Folding it is a different story, because Pretty Handsome Guy folds all the laundry. Yup, I won the lottery on that one. He sits in front of Monday night football, golf or whatever sport is on TV and FOLDS IT ALL. Cleaning? I keep the bathrooms somewhat sanitized, but normally things aren’t picked up and put away until the day before the sweet housecleaners come.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I pay someone to clean my house, but honestly I came to the realization a while ago that I just can’t do it all.

Regarding DIY projects, I have to admit to you that I’ve recently been procrastinating. My poor younger son had been hounding me for months to give his room a makeover. After all, his big brother got his own fabulous woodland themed room. I was just about to start working on his room when the whole kitchen debacle happened. My youngest was remarkably understanding for a 6 year old. He patiently waited over a year as I finished the kitchen. But, after that last shelf was hung, he began his pressure again. Frankly after 13 months of hard core renovation, I wanted to just relax, daydream and smell the roses (so to speak.)

Installling Brick Mural Wallpaper | Pretty Handy Girl

That’s when my friends at Duluth Trading Company must have gotten a call from my youngest. [Read more...]

How to Organize Home Manuals

How to Organize Home Manuals

How to Organize Home Manuals

Happy 2014! I hope you are still enjoying a wonderful holiday season and are excited to see what we have in store for you here at Pretty Handy Girl. It is going to be an amazing year! Since you might be recovering from the fun last night at a festive celebration, I’m going to make today’s project very easy for you. Easy but productive.

A new year always makes us want to be more organized and this project will start you off on the right foot in that department.  Today you are going to organize all those manuals you have floating around the house. You know the ones you can never find when you need to? But have been meaning to organize? Check that item off the To-Do list, here is how to!

There are a few options for getting home paperwork in order, but I’m a binder kind of girl. I tend to organize all of my must-find items in binders, that way I can move them around from room to room if I need to, and I can re-organize the items inside, plus binders can hide a great mess but look so pretty doing so.

Supplies

  • All those pesky, unusually-sized, random manuals, warranties, instructions and information for things around your home
  • A binder {or two if you have a lot of manuals}
  • Dividers with a label option – Can be cut up file folders, purchased dividers or card stock paper
  • Clear plastic sheet protectors
  • Hole punch {optional}

Organize Your Home Manuals

Instructions: [Read more...]

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors in the School Library

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Choosing paint colors can be a daunting task. Looking at small paint chips at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement store can be a bit overwhelming. Especially because there are so many colors to choose from! (That can be a good thing too ;-).)

Luckily I have two tips to help you choose the paint color that’s right for you:

1. Use Valspar paint. Finding a paint color you love is easier with Valspar. If you don’t love the first color you choose, you can have another on them. It’s as easy as, love your color, or change your color. That’s the Valspar Love Your Color Guarantee. And it certainly helps alleviate the stress of choosing the right paint color for your room.

2. Create larger paint chips. Looking at tiny paint chips won’t help you conceptualize that color over the entire wall. Making large paint swatches using foam board and sample paints is easy and can save you time when choosing the ideal paint color. I put together this short video to show you how we selected the final color for the school library.

I knew if I could create big paint chips and let the librarian live with the large chips for a few days, she’d be better prepared to make a final decision. As you saw, she was much more comfortable choosing this way.

The winning color was Montpelier Wedgewood by Valspar. And, luckily after we began painting, we all fell in love with the color she chose.

Here’s how we tackled painting the school library (acoustic ceiling tiles and all!): [Read more...]

Elementary School Library Reveal

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

For a month I’ve been working on the school library makeover that was facilitated by a donation from Overstock.com. This morning I got my emotional reward. I walked into the library ready to put on the finishing touches in the room. There were a few kids in the main section of the library reading. But, when I turned the corner and gazed into what used to be the dark back corner…

library-before-pic-1

…I was surprised to see a dozen kids sprawled on the rug, dog beds and bean bags.

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

They were all piled back there and quietly reading! My heart almost burst. The librarian told me it’s been like that since we finished painting. The kids love to hang out there. And not just the younger grade levels, all the kids love it! My heart is just singing with joy. [Read more...]

Decorative Book with Hidden Storage Inside

DIY Book with Storage Inside | Pretty Handy Girl

Book with Hidden Storage | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you remember when you were a kid and you wanted a super secret place to hide things from your sibling? Having a secret book with a hidden storage compartment would have been perfect! Even as an adult, it’s nice to have a spot where you can hide something personal, valuable or sweet (think dark chocolate!) ;-)

This DIY Decorative Hidden Storage Book is a relatively easy project, but it takes a little patience and a very sharp X-acto knife (so have a few fresh blades to replace when your blade dulls.)

Materials:

Materials

 

 

  • Fat book (shop Goodwill or repurpose an old book you already own)
  • X-acto knife
  • 4-5 New X-acto blades
  • Ruler with a metal edge
  • Self-healing cutting board
  • Paint brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Gold craft paint (optional)
  • 3 Sheets of scrapbook paper (2 the same design and 1 coordinating design)
  • Scotch tape
  • Rubber cement
  • Wax paper (cereal box bags work great)
  • Cup to mix mod podge in
  • Weights or heavy objects
  • Ribbon

 

Instructions: [Read more...]

Plans to Create a Library Reading Retreat

Library Before Pic

library_entrance

The elementary school library at my kids’ school is one of my favorite spots to volunteer. The main library has soaring ceilings with windows and lots of natural light. It is truly a pleasure to spend an hour volunteering to shelve books.

soaring_library_ceilings

But, there’s one spot that seems like the forgotten corner. It’s a bit of a cave with less natural light and lower ceilings.

library-before-pic-1

This corner of the library houses the picture books and easy reader books, and is often the introduction to reading for Kindergartners. As you know, instilling a love of reading is crucial for young children. Fostering a love of books and reading can be paramount to a child’s future.

With this in mind, the school librarian and I decided to turn this dark corner into a reader’s retreat — an inviting spot for kids to explore, relax and READ. As fate so often happens, Overstock.com contacted me and asked if I’d like to complete a room makeover with credit to their online store. I immediately thought of the school library.

If you’ve shopped on Overstock before, you know that your money can go far because they have good quality furniture, home décor, electronics and much more for a lot less! (They also have a section called World Stock that has a virtual marketplace of artisan goods available for purchase.)

world-stock-items

When you buy from the World Stock section, 60-70% of the purchase price goes back to the artisan and suppliers! What a great way to help less fortunate communities around the world.

[Read more...]

Two Good Reads and a Book Giveaway

PHG_book_recommendations

Pretty Handy Girl Recommended Books Giveaway
Okay, let’s get this out upfront. THIS IS NOT A DIY POST. There, I said it. So, if you want a tutorial, come back tomorrow.

Now, the rest of you who like to read, I know you like to read because you stuck around. And if you follow my blog, I know you like to read and DIY! Which is why I know you’ll love Ladies’ Night by Mary Kay Andrews!

Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews

What really made this book all the more enjoyable is that the main character, Grace, is a blogger and she loves to remodel homes!

Pretty Handy Girl Recommended Books Giveaway

This book is full of laugh out loud moments as jilted Grace Stanton recovers and bounces back after she catches her husband with her assistant. Ladies’ Night is filled with juicy nuggets of revenge. A shirtless and attractive guy. And a crew of divorcees who bring the hilarity to a weekly Anger management class.

I highly recommend Ladies’ Night as a fun read that will keep you laughing and take the weight off your day. After I finished the book, my Mom snatched it up and couldn’t put it down either (fun for all ages!)

Pretty Handy Girl Recommended Books Giveaway

Enjoy! And be sure to “read” to the end of this post to learn how you could win your own book and maybe even an event kit from Mary Kay Andrews for your book club!

PostBreakblue

The second book I’m recommending is Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

 Where Ladies’ Night is light and fun. Necessary Lives spins the amazing tales of several women affected by the forced sterilization practices in rural North Carolina. Based on true stories (but told through fictional characters), Necessary Lies will takes you into the seemingly simple life of a rural farm in North Carolina.

Pretty Handy Girl Recommended Books Giveaway

You’ll walk in Ivy Hart’s shoes as a young teenager falling in love with a boy who is not “in her class.” And you’ll work alongside Jane Forrester as she struggles to help and do what she thinks is right for her clients including Ivy Hart and her sister Mary Ella.

Your beliefs and understanding of the forced sterilization program will be changed forever. I promise. A must read and a true page turner. Diane’s book is being released in the US today (and is already a best seller in the UK), so check out her site for more ordering information! But, if you are feeling lucky, you could win a copy of Diane’s book and possibly a basket of Diane’s favorite things!

PostBreakblue

And now…I’m super excited that Diane and Mary Kay’s publisher agreed to let me give away some copies of their books and more!

~ Pretty Handy Girl Recommended Book Giveaways ~

The giveaway has ended! Congrats to Tami, Mrs. C. Ashworth, Patti, Marie and Carol!

PHGFancySign Disclosure: I was provided with two review copies of each book. I was not compensated or told what to write. I’m sharing these books with you of my own will, because I’m sure you’ll love them as much as I did.

 

A Lazy Girl’s Patriotic Summer Mantel

patriotic_mantle_horizontal

patriotic_mantle_horizontal

My name is Pretty Handy Girl and I am addicted to my Christmas mantel. Yes, I have used it since December 2012. I needed to enroll myself in a program that would help me get unhooked from holiday mantel décor. Truth be told, I needed a little help from my friends to change my habitual ways.

Thanks to my good friends on Facebook and Instagram, they intervened and guided me in the right direction. With some suggestions they helped me turn around and get my life back in the correct season.

Using my kitchen upheaval as an excuse is really only acceptable for one or two months. I used that lame explanation as a crutch for seven months! But, the issue became glaringly apparent when our good friend and house sitter remarked that she thought that was our Christmas mantel still up in June. {busted} Before she settled into our home (while we left for an extended vacation), I knew I had to change it up.

Everyone had some great ideas, but the easiest and quickest were to add buntings and some blue. Within 45 minutes (because I always have to play around with things for at least half an hour.) I had a fresh seasonally-appropriate Patriotic mantel.

vertical_left_corner

Inexpensive buntings from Michael’s were the undeniable champion in this makeover.

saltina_biscuit_tin

A few American flags in a cobalt blue bottle brought some more patriotism onto the scene. Red, white and blue books were an easy way to add the right colors.

angled_stars

The stars remained unchanged, except I ripped off the crispy dead sprigs of rosemary.

quaker_spices_cigar_box

Antique tins and a cigar box bring out the Americana feel.

angled_mantle_view

Yup, give me 45 minutes and I can change a Christmas mantel…

…into a Fourth of July mantel!

Vertical_patriotic_mantle

Thank you to my social media friends for your help and for not turning me in to the decorating police. xxxooo

PHGFancySign

Kids Bookend Kit: Build your own bookend

bookend

bookend3

Do your kids want to build and paint just like you?  This project a great beginner build for young ones who want to get in there and make something to call their own. And once they’re done building they can paint it too!

bookend9

Or give the build as a unique personalized gift for that artsy friend who loves to paint:

bookend4

Attach a cute gift tag (download my tag free from here) and include some fun acrylic paint colors and brushes:

bookend11

This project is super kid friendly, I tested it at my 6 year old daughter’s birthday party and all the girls absolutely loved building their own project .  We used kid sized drills (like these kid sized drills) and they truly enjoyed painting their bookends: [Read more...]

DIY Book Reviews – Inspired You – The Handbuilt Home – Handmade Walls

handbuilt_bed

I think 2012 could be named the year of DIY blogger authored books. So many fabulous bloggers have come out with phenomenal  books. Young House Love, Miss Mustard Seed, Ana White, and The Handmade Home just to name just a few.

For me this is a dream come true. Finally, the beautiful words and photos of my favorite bloggers are now in book format. Here’s a quick round up of three DIY books I think you’ll enjoy. You’ll surely want to add them to your holiday wishlist! [Read more...]

Make an Autumn Book Page Leaf Garland

pull_out_book_sections

Two years ago, I saw this beautiful wreath in a magazine. I snapped a picture with my phone and figured I’d try to DIY my own version. Then I forgot about it until I stumbled upon the picture recently. After a little research, I found that the wreath was a Martha Stewart contest winner by Emily Morris.

I loved the leaf shape and the simplicity of the project. So, I decided to alter it slightly to work as a garland for our mantle. [Read more...]

Industrial Work Table with Vintage Dictionary Top – Guest Post by Hammer Like a Girl

Hammer_like_a_girl_3_ladies

Y’all are gonna love today’s guest post! Hammer Like a Girl is in the HOWZZ! Check out that industrial book page topped table that they created.

Today’s guest post is brought to you by THREE handy gals! I’m seriously thinking about moving to Seattle just so I can be one of their friends and share in the DIY project co-ops. Heidi, Monica and Mary Jean make up the power trio at Hammer Like a Girl.

These ladies get together once a week to tackle a DIY project together. They rotate which house they will work in next. Check out some of their transformations like this oval to rectangle table transformation, rustic wood bathtub surround, or tile backsplash.

[Read more...]

Vintage Map Lampshade

cut_out_map_shade_shape

Have you been on a unique vacation lately that you want to remember? Do you want to update a plain vanilla lamp shade? Guess what, you can do both with this vintage map lamp shade!

Recently I revamped a shade by hot gluing paint chips to the shade. The result was a beautiful ombre lamp that was fun and colorful.

The process to create it was easy, especially because the shade was a perfect cylinder. But, what do you do when you have a cone shape shade? The instructions are a little more complex, but it really isn’t difficult. Come pull up a seat and I’ll show you how I created a warm vintage map lampshade that reminds me of our getaway to Scotland.


Materials:

  • Lampshade
  • Maps, wrapping paper, or decorative paper
  • Craft paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • X-acto knife
  • Masking or artists tape (low tack tape)
  • Clear packing tape
  • 2 clothespins
  • Rubber cement
  • Grosgrain ribbon
  • Hot glue gun

 

To add a vintage glaze you will also need:

  • Paint brush
  • Mod podge
  • Cocoa or dark yellow acrylic paint
  • Metallic antique gold paint (optional)
  • Cup to stir paint in
  • Stirring stick or palette knife

On my last trip to Goodwill, I discovered an old atlas and just knew that I could use it for oodles of projects. As I walked out of the store a flood of ideas came to me (which means you will be seeing this photo more on my blog.)

 

Start by selecting the pages you want to use. Carefully cut them out along the spine using a fresh x-acto blade — don’t let your blade get dull. (FYI, I end up using a new one for each project. Your cuts are much cleaner when working with a fresh blade.)

 

Set your pages aside for now.

 

To make a template for your shade, roll out a large piece of craft paper. Lay your lampshade on the craft paper. Start at the vertical seam on the shade (so you know where to stop) and set your pencil along the bottom edge of the lampshade.

 

Gently roll the shade on the paper and mark along the bottom edge of the shade.

When you reach the end, reverse your shade and draw along the top edge. At the end, add an inch or two for overlap. Cut along the outlines to create your lampshade template.

Tape the template onto your lamp shade using the low tack tape. Make sure it fits snugly. You may want to trim some excess from the edge of your template. I took about 1/4″  off so my map wouldn’t bump at the trim on the lampshade. Plus, I plan to cover the edges with the grosgrain ribbon.

 

Make sure your template fits perfectly “like a glove” lest you be throwing a temper tantrum later when you realize it doesn’t fit and have ruined your precious map pages. Just sayin’.

 

Lay out your craft paper template on top of the map pages. Make any adjustments to the pages.

 

Tape your map pages together with clear packing tape on the inside only.

 

Trace the template on top of the map pages.

 

Cut out the shape traced onto your map pages.

 

Line up your map pages with the lamp shade and clip the edges with clothes pins.

 

Working in small 8″ sections, brush rubber cement onto the map and the lamp shade. Wait a minute or two for the glues to dry. Then press them together. This is the best way to get maximum adhesion when using regular rubber cement. It creates a stronger bond than just one coat applied and joined while it is still wet.

 

Continue by gluing another section until you reach the end. To finish the seams on the outside, brush some rubber cement under the seams where your maps meet. Press and hold them down until the glue dries. You can try gluing both sides and letting them dry, but in my experience it wasn’t worth the risk of bending the seams and the pages want to lay together anyway.

 

Time to give your maps a vintage aged look! Pour some mod podge into an empty cup. Add some of the cocoa colored paint and the aged gold. Mix it up. Test some on a scrap piece of paper. If you like the glaze color, start brushing it onto the lamp shade. Be careful not to use too much of the glaze or the paper will start to wrinkle. (If it does, no worries, some will come out when it dries. The remaining wrinkles make it look old.)

 

Let the glaze dry.

Cut two strips of grosgrain ribbon the circumference of your lamp shade plus a few inches for overlap.

Hot glue the ribbon onto the top and bottom edges of your lamp shade. (Please, please, protect your fingers, read my hot glue gun safety post before working with hot glue!)

 

Put your lampshade on your favorite lamp.

 

And admire your unique lamp shade that brings back fond memories. ;-)

If you make one of these, what map would be on yours? Your home state? The place you were born? Where your family’s heritage resides? Or something completely different? I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

Sharing this tutorial with:

Tip Junkie handmade projects Home Stories A to Z – Tips and Tutorials

 

1,000 Followers! No way!

Some of you may have noticed that I reached the 1,000th Google Friend follower (not that I’m counting. Okay, I’m trying not to.) I really wasn’t expecting this many readers to jump on board so quickly. So, y’all caught me off guard.

Some of my most recent readers have come over from Today’s Creative Blog or The Stories of A to Z. (Thank you Kim & Beth!) Well, I’m so glad you are here and I hope you enjoy my blog.

In the tradition of celebrating certain follower milestones, I will be putting together a giveaway for one lucky follower. In the past I gave away a Hollowed Out Book  with a gift card to Border’s inside.

and a CD/DVD Visor Wallet with a gift card to Amazon.com inside.

But, this time I’m going to be offering something REALLY special! You’ll have to wait to see what it is. I need to work out a few more details, but I should be sharing what the giveaway is and how you can win soon. Please bear with me until then. (Can you tell I was really surprised by this milestone?!)

In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the “Falling in Love with Your Home” series.

Up tomorrow: learning some de-cluttering secrets!

Decorative Book with Hidden Potential (and a gift for my 100th follower)

Two weeks ago I was thrilled when one of you wonderful readers signed on to become my 100th follower! What a milestone for a relatively new blog.

This lucky, 100th follower was Sharon, who has an equally amazing blog called This Thrifty House. If you haven’t been to her blog, you have to check out some of her projects!

Here is just a small sample of some of her creative juices flowing:

 
As a BIG thank you to Sharon for signing on as a follower, I had to make her something special. I took pictures and wanted to create a tutorial for you, but I’ve had to sit on my fingers to keep from spilling the beans before she received it.

So, the time has come, Sharon received my package in the mail, and without further delay, here is the tutorial!

Before the end of school I made four of these beautiful decorative books for my sons’ teachers. They looked so pretty that I didn’t have to wrap them in gift wrap.

I simply tied a bow around them and gave them to the teachers. Imagine their surprise when they opened them to find…

a gift card to Borders!

Now they have a pretty book to decorate with and a secret compartment for hiding something.

To make these decorative books with storage you will need:

1 Thick hardback book (I buy these for super cheap at Goodwill or use one of your own)
2 sheets of decorative scrapbook paper (12″ x 12″)
1 sheet of coordinating decorative scrapbook paper for the spine
Rubber cement
Scotch Tape
Xacto blades
Metal ruler (or ruler with a metal edge)
Mod Podge
Gold acrylic paint (optional)
Wax paper (save the liners from cereal boxes and never buy wax paper again)
Heavy weights

and most importantly….patience.

Begin by removing the dust cover or jacket from your book.

Open your book a few pages to determine where you want your hole to be. I usually leave a few pages in the front for more secrecy. Lay your gift card or item to hide on the page and trace out a rectangle guide for cutting. Use your x-acto blade and ruler to cut out one or two pages.

Put a piece of wax paper between your first cut page and the rest of the pages. Put a second piece of wax paper between the back cover of your book and the last page of your book. This keeps the paint/mod podge mixture from getting on the areas of the book you want to keep clean.

Now, mix your mod podge with a small bit of gold acrylic paint and brush the gold mod podge on the three sides of your book pages. Be sure you have covered your pages well.

 

Now, close your book (being sure that the wax paper is still protecting the back cover and the reserved page.) Get your heavy weight (hooray, finally a use for those heavy free weights that take up valuable closet space.) Do one bicep curl and drop the weight on top of your book.

Wait about 30 minutes for the modge podge to dry. While I’m waiting I put a piece of saran wrap over my mod podge mixture and paint brush and stored it in the fridge to keep it from drying out.

While you wait for the book to dry, you can assemble your decorative book cover.

(1) Butt your two scrapbook pages together and (2) put a piece of scotch tape along the seam.

Use the removed cover of your book (or measure the book) to figure out how tall you want your decorative cover to be. Trim your cover down to the correct height. Next determine how wide you want your decorative spine to be. Mine is the width of the book plus 2 inches. Cut your spine paper to size width-wise.

Center the spine on your book cover and draw a light pencil line on the book cover around the spine edges. (3) Open your rubber cement and coat your spine with a coat of rubber cement. Let it dry slightly while you (4) put another coat on the book cover in between the guide lines you drew on the cover. To get a strong bond with rubber cement you need two coats (one on the surface you are attaching, and the other on the surface you are gluing the piece to. This is standard for rubber cement unless you happen to purchase one coat rubber cement. (5) While the pieces are still tacky, gently lay the spine on top of the cover. You only have one shot at this, so go slow. Press the paper together. (6) Then run your finger along the spine edges wiping up any rubber cement (go ahead, you know you want to make little fake boogies!) Now, take your ruler and xacto and trim off the excess top of the spine.

 
Set your cover aside and check on your book. If the modge podge is dry, go ahead and open the book. Now, put your patience cap on.

You will continue to keep your one reserve page separate, but use it to draw your guide lines on the first page of the glued pages. Then be sure to protect that one reserve page so you can cover up your jagged cut lines later.

Use your ruler and a VERY sharp brand new xacto blade (you may go through 1 or 2 more blades during this part. Be sure to change your blade if the blade starts to pull pieces of the pages with it instead of cutting through them.) Gently but firmly cut along your guide lines. BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR FINGERS AWAY FROM THE RULER EDGE! (You don’t need to loose a finger, unless you are a two finger typer.)

Score a few times in the same spot being sure to press firm but not too hard as to break your blade. Try to be sure that you are cutting all the way to your corners. My method was to cut 4-5 times along one line, then rotate the book 90 degrees and repeat.

When you have cut through several pages, pull them out (cutting any corners that are still attached.) Now repeat, repeat, repeat……..until you have reached the desired depth for your hidden storage area. Phew, do you have a hand cramp yet? Hopefully that is all you have, no cuts I hope.

Now, clean up any edges of your opening.

Get your gold mod podge out of the fridge and seal the edges of your opening and paint the bottom of your opening.

Then paint the exterior edges around your opening (the first page in your glued stack.) NOW, lay your reserved page on top of this one and you have a clean border!

Put a piece of wax paper on top of your reserve page and pick up your weight. Use your opposite arm and do one bicep curl and drop that weight back on the book! There, you did your workout for today. Feel better?! No? Well then take the next 30 minutes to work out.

After 30 minutes open your book. (1) Lay your decorative cover over your book, making sure the edges are even. (2) Fold the top edge over your book front cover. (3) Then repeat for the back cover.

Stand back and admire.

Too pretty to give away, isn’t it?
Just think how happy the recipient will be!

Again, thank you to all my followers! I will have another surprise gift if I reach 500 followers. Next time I will pick one of you at random. So, tell your friends and family. Send them on over to be empowered at PrettyHandyGirl.com!