DIY Accordian File Organizer

How do you store all the Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Birthday, Anniversary, Thank You cards, etc. that you’ve received? If you’re like me, they usually have gone into a shoe box that gets tucked away up into the closet. I like to display my keepsake cards around the house year round, especially the ones with cute and fun designs. They’re like mini pieces of art. It has always been a hassle digging out those boxes and sorting through them to find what I need. So enough was enough. I looked on Pinterest for DIY organization solutions that were pretty enough to display but still functional.  This time, I came across this accordian file on Pinterest.  I love the bow detail!

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I  found a tutorial from Damask Love that gave me a basic idea of how to construct the accordian file organizer. Overall, the steps are pretty straightforward and easy to follow. Like any DIY project, the beauty is that you can take that basic concept and modify it to fit your needs.

So first, I assessed the dimensions and the number of file compartments I needed for my accordian file organizers. I chose my dimensions based off the largest cards I had. I also added a spine piece to give the bottom added support.

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Luckily I had most of the materials already on hand, with the exception of the bookboard/chipboard.  As a substitute, I used cardboard from the boxes that our nerf guns had come in. Yes, side fact, we are adults that still play with nerf guns 🙂 The nerf gun boxes were perfect because the cardboard was thin.  I cutout and glued two pieces of cardboard for each outer piece required. Glueing together the multiple layers of thin cardboard made the outer pieces pretty sturdy rather than just using one layer of thick cardboard. They don’t bend that easily.  I love it when I can upcycle cardboard!

I chose to cover the outside of the organizers with fabric instead of paper. I find it as an easier material to work with and more forgiving if you need to shift/adjust as you glue. The first one I made, I covered with a postard/airmail-themed fabric. But I couldn’t just make one.  So I made a second one with a custom modern diamond pattern. For this second one, I used plain fabric and painted on the design myself.

accordian file cover

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As you can see, the cards fit perfectly in there!  I’ll probably be making more of these in the future to organize and store my other stationary/paper goods.

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Tis the Season for Christmas DIY Projects!

The holiday season is quickly coming up around the corner, which means soon it’ll be time to put up the Christmas tree. And for the first time, I finally get to decorate the rest of our new house! As exciting as that sounds, I’ve been trying to get a head start on my Christmas decor DIY projects. My goal is to have everything (ok, mostly everything) finished and put up by the time Thanksgiving is here. That way the hubby and I can actually enjoy the holiday season with the house already done up and I’m not spending it drowning in glue and glitter.

*Update* – 12/07/2013

Ok, I’ve been good making progress, but not quite making my self-imposed Thanksgiving deadline. However, I’m feeling pretty confident I’ll be done within a reasonable time before Christmas. The stockings and bauble wreath were projects intended actually for Christmas last year. With those out of the way, I was able to work on projects for this year.

Hello Aerie - Christmas Mesh Wreath

Hello Aerie - Christmas Tree Felt Skirt

Hello Aerie - Ribbon Snowflake Ornaments

Hello Aerie - Glitter Reindeer Silhouette Canvas

I only have a few more projects to complete before the reveal of it all put together. Stay tuned!

*Original Post* – 11/22/2013

Here’s a sneak peak of what I’ve completed so far and will keep on adding as I finish more!

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I hope I’m not being too ambitious with all these projects I want to get done…excited to see it all put together!

Painting on a Friday Night…

This past Friday was the first free Friday I’ve had in a really long time. There was no small group meeting to go to, no travel plans, no outtings whatsoever. I was really looking forward to a night to just to decompress and relax. This past week had not only been mentally exhausting due to work, but physically exhausting as well as I had come down with a cold.

I started off my night by having dinner and watching some TV, but after a show or two, I wasn’t all that interested in the Friday-night show line-up. I had originally intended to do some cleaning or organizing around the house, but after some contemplating, I decided I wasn’t really in that type of mood. (Yes, you read that sentence correctly. Cleaning and organizing can be mentally relaxing activities for me.) My next default idea was to work on a craft or art project, something to satisfy my creative juices. Now that sounded like a fun idea, but what to do?

I skimmed my DIY Pinterest Board for ideas, and came across this oil painting that I had pinned from a few weeks ago.

I had pinned this painting because I thought that it would be perfect for the powder room, which was painted in Winter Lake (BM 2129-50). I loved the pop of red! That red dress instantly caught my eye.  I also loved the subtle blue accents and highlights.  I tried finding who the artist of this painting was or if this was an item available to buy , but have had no luck so far. So instead, I was going to attempt to recreate my version of this painting.

I looked around the house to see what I had lying around, and gathered my materials for this project:

  • RIBBA picture frame from IKEA (I had previously used this for my jewelry organizer board at our previous apartment).
  • Acrylic paint & paint brushes
  • Remnant burlap/canvas-like fabric

After a few hours of painting and mentally zoning out, I was finished. Here’s how my version came out. It was a decent attempt, but nothing like the original painting.

I had to let the painting dry overnight before I could frame it. The hubby had to help me hang the picture. (The RIBBA picture frame has some weight to it since it has a glass front.) Now the red dress painting is hanging in our powder room for all to see. 🙂

DIY Sunshine Yellow Curtains

I must confess that this post has been a long time coming. March, April, and May were busy busy months. However,  it’s not like life will get any less busier in the upcoming months for me, so I’ve got to get back on track with posting and sharing with y’all on this blog!

I’ve finished tackling what probably is the biggest DIY project I’ve accomplished so far in the new house: sewing my own curtains! You might ask why on earth I would even consider sewing my own curtains. Well, besides the fact that I like DIY projects, I had a few good other reasons to rationalize my decision…

  1. Cost…
    I have learned that I have expensive taste, but not the budget to match it. I had been eyeing the Linen Cotton Window Panels in Desert Marigold from West Elm. It cost $64.00 per panel (96″ long) was $59.00. Multiply that by the 6 panels I needed…that’s $384 before tax, shipping, and buying any curtain rod hardware.
  2. Dimensions…
    Through this project I learned how to properly hang curtains, thanks to Pinterest and the numerous custom curtain magazines we keep receiving in the mail. The width of the West Elm curtain panels were 48″, which were too narrow for my windows. Therefore, I would need to sew panels together to achieve the desired width and fullness. In addition, the length of the panels were slightly longer than I needed, so I’d also have to hem them to the exact desired length. I have an eye for detail, so it bothers me when people buy store bought curtains and hang them so that they are too short or do not have enough fullness to them.
  3. Color
    I had decided from the beginning that I wanted bright yellow curtains to go with the light gray walls for the main floor. Although the Desert Marigold West Elm curtain panels were fairly close in color with what I was looking for, it still wasn’t close enough for. The color had to be exact. I wanted something a slightly bit brighter, with a more citrus yellow hue.

So, as you can probably imagine, with all the “rationale” reasons I presented above, I wanted the perfect set of curtains, and making them myself would be the only way to achieve that!

Finding the specific shade of yellow that I wanted was not all that easy. I must have spent a a few weeks just browsing online and pinning potential candidates on my Pinterest Board for my husband to help me decide. Luckily, the search did not go on forever, as I was lucky enough to find a shade of yellow from Joann.com that satisfied my eye: Cintronelle. I was even luckier to have a 50% off coupon (thanks to my sister-in-law). The original price per yard was $34.99, but with the coupon it came to $17.49/yd. I bought a total of 18 yards for the two main floor windows/patio doors combined. So it came out to $314.82 before tax. Did I mention I got free shipping too?

So I received a long narrow box in the mail. It was a bit of a reality check as I slowly pulled the fabric out of the box…what was I getting myself into? Doubt started to creep on me as I examined the fabric. Now, I knew that the color swatch from online wouldn’t exactly match the real color of the fabric. The fabric seemed to have a super citrus/neon hue to it. So I unrolled it out on the floor, and had to spend some time looking at it. It was growing on me, but I was still unsure. This wasn’t the a dilemma I wanted or needed so early on in the project. My husband had to constantly reassure me that the shade of yellow was perfectly fine, and in the end I had to trust him.

Next came the sewing! I’ll spare the details for now of how I sewed the curtains/lessons learned and save that for a tutorial post. I will say the concept of sewing the curtains isn’t hard since you’re just sewing cutting in straight lines. But cutting straight and sewing straight is the key. Those two things become more time consuming the larger the panels are because it’s always safer to measure twice and cut/sew once. After dragging out this project for two months, I finally finished! (Yes, I know it’s pathetic,  because I would only work in short spurts and only on weekends, which as I explained above, were pretty busy.) Anyways…*drum roll please*….here is the finished product!

The curtains just add a completely different dimension to the rooms and make them look one step closer towards of being ‘put together’. I was especially glad to camoflauge the sheer brown shades on the main floor window, and completely get rid of the hideous (I don’t even know what shade of brown/pink you could call it), 80’s fabulous panel-like blinds.

I will say in the end, I am completely happy with the shade of yellow that the curtains are and have no regrets. It’s amazing to watch the different shades of yellow the curtains turn throughout the day as the sunlight pours in. And as you can see, my cat looks like she’s literally surrounded by two columns of sunlight. She’s pretty content now that she can finally reclaim her spot by the patio doors.

DIY Sunshine Yellow Curtains

First Sewing Project: Iphone Travel Pouch

A few months ago, I made the decision to buy a sewing machine. The reasoning behind the purchase was to be able to custom decorate my house affordably by making my own curtains and pillow cases and whatever other projects Pinterest could inspire me with.

Now, my mother, who is an amazing seamstress, did spend one summer teaching me as a kid how to use a sewing machine. I even had my own toy sewing machine to practice on. All I ever made were makeshift smocks and pillows for my Barbie dolls, which turned out less than spectacular. So I did have some familiarity with using a sewing machine, but from what I could remember that was very little. Therefore, deciding on a specific sewing machine wasn’t the hardest part; rather, mustering up the courage to unpack the sewing machine from the box and learning how to use it was.

After two months of procrastination, I finally opened the box and set up my new toy: a Brother CS6000i Computer Sewing Machine. To my relief, setting it up was relatively painless as the instruction manual was easy to follow.

Now, it was time to sew! The first project I wanted to tackle was making curtains for the main floor. However, I decided that it would be better to first pick a smaller-scale project to become comfortable with the machine. So I tried to think of something useful I could make and turned to Pinterest (as always) for inspiration. Then, it dawned on me to make a travel pouch for my iPhone and accessories.

Here was my dilemma. When I carried my headphones and usb charger for my iPhone, I used to just put them altogether in my Hello Kitty drawstring pouch or just throw them straight into my bag, both of which created a wire tangling nightmare every time I want to retrieve either from my bag. I came across these two images/links on Pinterest that could potentially solve my problem:

I liked the first option because it had three compartments: one for the phone, one for the headphones, and one for the usb charger!  I liked the second option because it showed me how to secure the pouch closed. In addition, the sleeves for each compartment were deeper, providing a more secure fit and lesser chance of the items falling out. So, instead of choosing between the both of them, I decided to combine the two and make my own pattern. Here’s what I ended up with!

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out given this was my first sewing project. All my materials were scraps from given by my mother or my own crafting stash. The lace and button are my favorite details! There are some definite improvements which could be made, but I’ll have to think about it and get back to ya’ll in a different post down the road. Nevertheless, I’ve been using this the past few weeks, and it’s definitely solved my organization problem, so I’m a happy camper. =D

Fireplace Makeover

I’m excited to share our first big house project!  Earlier this month we tackled refacing the fireplace. It wasn’t a true DIY by any means, but it was a still a project. It is a wood-burning fireplace, which we loved; however, we were not a fan of its dated look. The mantle and hearth seemed like an afterthought to the layout of the fireplace. The mantle consisted of just a shallow wooden shelf placed at a fairly low height. The hearth sat raised slightly above the floor and was framed with wooden strips. Here’s a picture to show what the fireplace looked like before its facelift:

Fireplace Before

Since we wanted to reface the fireplace, we had to first decide what we wanted it to look like. After looking at pictures on Pinterest, Houzz, and home magazines, we decided that we liked the look of a white wood mantle with tile framing the fireplace opening and tile that was flush with the hardwood floor for the hearth.

We found a contractor to do the work for us, as we didn’t have the proper tools or expertise to do the job. He worked with us to determine the desired dimensions of the new mantle/hearth layout for the fireplace. Our biggest desire was to make the fireplace a visual feature and feel proportional to the size of the room. This is a sketch of what we came up with:

Once we agreed on the design of the layout, it was demo time! (Well, for the contractor, not for us). Removing the mantle and hearth was a relatively easy and non-messy task. As you can see below, the old mantle was a casing screwed into the wall. The slab of slate for the hearth had just been installed on top the wood floor (that was shocking) and came right off without much chiselling. Now you can understand why I say that there wasn’t much thought put into the original design for the fireplace.  After demo was complete, the contractor outlined the whole layout of the mantle and hearth cutout. It was awesome that he did this because we could visualize the actual size of the proposed design in comparison to what was there before.

The contractor built the wood mantle for us from scratch utilizing a shadowbox design. In the meantime, the hubby and I had to pick out the wall and floor tile. At first, we thought we had wanted mosaic style tile for the wall (like the small square tiles or glass rectangular tiles). However, it was a beautiful beige 3D Brick style tile that caught our eye. Once we saw it, we fell in love and decided that that would be our tile.

So here’s the finished product!

Fireplace After

Fireplace After

And here’s another comparison of the before and after. It’s like night and day. We are extremely pleased with how the new fireplace design turned out. =D

A Blank Canvas

Whenever I move into a new place, it’s like being given a blank canvas. In past places that I’ve lived in, they primarily reflected basic organization and functionality, but no personality. I’ve always wanted to add the design/decor element in, but because I used to move so often, I didn’t see the point of investing the time, effort, and/ or money.

But that has all changed! The hubby and I recently moved into our first home a couple of months ago, and am glad to say we’re officially settled in. I’m so excited to transform this house into a beautifully organized home.  So what’s the plan? What have we done so far?

The first order of business was paint. Choosing paint colors is fun but daunting at the same time. The color options are endless, literally. I love color, especially bright and fun colors, so I was very excited about this project. But, I also knew I had to pick colors that were safe enough for the hubby to like.  So how to choose? I used Pinterest and Design Seeds to help make my paint color selections. My husband is a very visual person with very little imagination, so it was great to be able to show him what the paint colors would look like in a finished room and color themes that could eventually be incorporated in with the decor.

So here is what we ended up going with!

They’re all neutral colors and vary only in shades from each other (as my husband often likes to point out to me). But I feel that it’s a good start for a blank canvas.