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:

DIY Book with Storage Inside | Pretty Handy Girl

  • 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...]

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.

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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.

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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.

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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...]

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

 

Rustic Wine Crate with Rope Handles

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A friend gave me some magazines the other day and she put them all in a new yellow pine wine crate. I was overjoyed when she said I could keep the crate. I immediately had visions of staining it to create a rustic display box for magazines or other décor items.

Materials:

  • Wine crate or wooden box
  • Dark brown stain
  • Paint Brush
  • Paper towels
  • Damp rag
  • Rubber gloves
  • Medium Grit (100 grit) sandpaper
  • Sisal Rope
  • Scissors
  • Drill w/ bits

Instructions:

1. Start by cleaning off your crate with a damp rag. Then brush the stain on and let it sit for a minute.

2. Wipe the stain off with paper towels.

Add a second coat if you want your crate darker. Allow it to dry thoroughly. It might take several hours or overnight.

3. Sand any words and printing on your crate until you start to see some of the wood coming through. Be careful not to sand too deep and expose the bare wood.

4. Wipe off the crate. Mark the location you want your handle to be on the sides of the crate. Be sure to measure the same distances from the top and edges on both sides.

5. Choose a drill bit slightly larger than your rope. Drill holes at your marks.

6. Insert one side of the rope through the hole.

7. Tie a double knot inside the crate to keep the rope from slipping back through.

8. Determine how long a rope handle you want and tie a single knot in the middle of the handle.

9. Feed the other end of your rope through the other hole and tie another double knot on the inside of the crate.

10. Fray the edges of your rope by untwisting them.

11. Fill your crate with magazines, blankets, or décor goodies and display it!

Easy tutorial right? How many of you are running to your local wine shop and begging for wine crates now?

I Love Decorating with Books – Guest Post from Honey We’re Home

On the heels of my de-cluttering post, I have a special guest who is going to show you how you can keep all your books and make them look attractive instead of cluttered! Hooray for book lovers!!! And once you see how she used her books as décor, you are going to run to your bookshelves and create another reason to fall in love with your home!

Without any further waiting, I’d like to introduce Megan from Honey We’re Home
(and her fabulous helper and right hand man, James.) 

Okay, but wait, before I let her talk, I have to tell you that Megan’s home is absolutely gorgeous. If you haven’t visited her blog, do so NOW!

What, you are still here? Seriously! Look, here are just a few pictures from her home:

Okay, so you are back, and NOW without any further delay, Please welcome Megan!

Although I had admired Brittany’s handiwork and especially her boy’s reading nook for a long time from afar, I was thrilled to get to meet her in person at Blissdom.  Needless to say, she is so down-to-earth and personable and really listens to you when you are talking.  Eye contact and all.  And she really is purely intent on showing her readers how they can accomplish the kinds of projects she does in her home in theirs!

What I’m sharing with you today is how I’ve used books as decor in our home.  I love reading and have amassed quite a collection of books over the years.  It’s funny how you can tell a lot about a person by the books they read.  In my house, you would guess I’m into God/religion/spirituality, decor/interior design, parenting/babies, fashion, and cooking.  My husband’s books are all about business, law, and history.

I’ve received a lot of inspiration for decorating with books from blogland and I especially love those “rainbow” bookshelves and wanted to try my hand at it.  I’m pretty familiar with my books, so I’m sure I won’t have any trouble locating them even though they aren’t categorized by subject.

Here’s my rainbow bookshelf in the upstairs hallway.  All I did was group the books into rainbow order by their spines and then arrange them on the shelf.   I reworked it a couple of times, and ended up with this:

basket, book, James, walls, J bath 001
basket, book, James, walls, J bath 002

Here’s the close up:
basket, book, James, walls, J bath 007 basket, book, James, walls, J bath 004 basket, book, James, walls, J bath 006
There’s barely a room in my house that doesn’t have books, for example:
My Office
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Kitchen
Books 007
Pantry
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James’ Nursery
Books 023
 Books 026

Thanks for having me Brittany!!

Be sure to check out some other ways you can “Fall in Love with Your Home!”