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Thursday, May 21, 2015

What Your Collections Say About Your Decorating Style

I'm a collector. I'll bet you are too. We all collect different things, things that speak to us. We all collect for different reasons, reasons that say something about who we are.

You may collect scarves, or lipsticks, or china, or fibers, or rocks, or shells, or recipes, or quilts, or paintings, or crazy friends, or shoes, or books, or office supplies.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Driftwood Magnifying Glass Handle

First of all, I want to start out by saying I LOVE this idea! Second, it's not my idea.

I saw a tutorial for making a rustic magnifying glass handle, using a stick, by my friend Gina at Shabby Creek Cottage.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

This Beach House is Getting Curb Appeal

Our beach house renovation is starting to move forward again!

Last year we renovated the last of a half-dozen decks.

Because this deck is ocean facing and subject to harsh elements, we bit the bullet and had custom stainless steel hangers and stainless screws installed.

Monday, May 11, 2015

How to Create an Altered Book the Lazy Way

Do you long to create art, but don't have a lot of time or experience or art supplies?  Art journaling or altered books might be a perfect way to explore color and texture and different art mediums without investing in lots of expensive materials, and you don't need any artistic skill to get started!

You can probably create an art journal or altered book with items you already have around the house, or with a few minimal purchases. If you have kids in the house, you can borrow their glue and paints and markers.

With this method, you will create your "canvas" (your re-purposed book), and create your page backgrounds all at once, in one or two sessions. This is a great project for TV series marathons, but I've also been known to keep an altered book project on the kitchen counter.

With the kitchen counter method, you add layers to your altered book pages while waiting for water to boil and pans to heat up, or while supervising homework activities. While my kids were little, most of my art happened that way. As a bonus, two of my kiddos became so enamored with art, that they are now artists!

You can create an altered book, with ten or twenty pages, with prepped backgrounds, all at once with this method.

Supplies you will need include
  • An old book (you probably already own something that will work)
  • Glue or other adhesive
  • An old credit card or gift card or key card
  • Old papers (junk mail, magazine pages, stickers, old scrapbook paper, old book pages, wallpaper scraps, tissue paper -- whatever)
  • Washi tape in two to six different patterns (can be found for cheap at Dollar Tree)
  • Four or five colors of paint that look good together
  • Brown or black ink pad
  • Stamps (can be homemade stamps or "found object" stamps, or purchased stamps)
  • Inks in two or three colors that blend nicely with your paint colors (these can be sprays, markers, daubers -- whatever) To see how I made my own ink sprays, using dried up markers, click here.


Prep an old book. You can use an old novel, planner, magazine, dictionary -- whatever you have on hand. Here, I used a planner that I started, but ended up not using, in 2014. It was a nice thickness -- thick enough to give me several pages, but not so many pages that I felt overwhelmed.

Next, you will need to remove about one-third to one-half of all the pages (don't worry, your book will start to look anemic, but you will add lots of layers and bulk to your book as you go). Examine how your book is constructed before removing pages, to make sure it won't fall apart when you do this. I gently pulled only the inside sheets out of each signature in this book, because the individual signatures were glued to each other, but they were not stitched or glued to the spine. In other books, I have been able to gently remove entire signatures. If your book does not have stitched signatures, simply tear or cut the pages to remove them.

Once you have removed the extra pages from your book, you will begin gluing the remaining pages together. You will probably want to glue between three and six sheets together for each "page", and create as many pages as makes sense for the book you are using. I think having more than about twenty pages can feel overwhelming, but do what works for you. I would not suggest glue sticks for this step, as glue sticks are not always permanent. I like to use white tacky glue, and spread it thin with an old credit card to glue the sheets together. You may get some rippling of the pages, but that is part of the charm of an altered book or art journal. If you absolutely hate rippled pages, you can try a dry adhesive. You can also close the book -- after the pages are glued together, but while there is still some moisture content in the pages -- and weight the book down until completely dry to keep the pages pretty flat. I don't usually have the patience to wait for the glue to completely dry, so I skip that.


Once you have your sheets glued together to form thick, heavy-bodied pages, you can begin to build up the pages by adding background layers. For this book, I used torn pages from an old novel, washi tape, and charts and maps that I previously removed from the same planner.

Just use what you have -- it can be text from old magazines, old junk mail, stickers, tape -- whatever. You are simply adding layers of texture at this point. I save my embossing "fails" for this type of project. If you have old scrapbook paper, that works great, too. I will sometimes use scrapbook paper leftover after shapes have been punched out. For lots of ideas on where to find materials for mixed media art, click here.

Work through the entire book at one time, adding background layers of paper ephemera and printed or textured paper.

Do you see how I got a little messy with the glue in the picture above? That can be a problem when you are working on several pages at once, as you do with this method. You need to be able to turn the page without worrying about accidentally gluing pages together. This is where having some washi tape comes in handy. Washi tape can be very affordable and is available at dollar stores and craft stores and big box stores and even some hardware stores.

Simply apply washi tape wherever a little glue has gotten onto the surface of your page, and you are ready to move on to the next page. If you discover later that you missed some glue, and your pages got glued together in a couple of spots, don't panic. Gently separate the pages and add washi tape to cover any torn areas.

After you are satisfied with the background layers on each page of your altered book, you are ready for step three.


Add paint. For this step, you will need about four or five paint colors that look good together -- no more than four or five, for a cohesive look. Usually, paint takes a while to dry, which can make working in a book a bit awkward. With this method, however, you will be using a credit card to spread on layers of paint that are super thin and practically dry before you finish applying it.

Begin by adding small dots of paint to the page -- about the size of peas. I used inexpensive craft paint from a big box store. I think I paid about fifty cents a bottle. If you don't have cheap acrylic craft paint, raid your kids' art supplies for a set of kids' watercolors or acrylics. You can even use leftover house paint, but you may need to use a hair dryer to dry the paint layers, as house paint dries more slowly than craft paint.

Now, thinly spread the paint with your credit card. Experiment with using the edge of the card or the flat part of the card for different affects. Continue adding dots of paint, and spreading it and scraping it until you are pleased with your page. Paint all the pages using different combinations of your chosen colors. Don't feel as if you need to completely cover the pages -- just add splashes of color where you feel the page needs it.


The next step in preparing your altered book backgrounds is to add ink. I highly recommend having at least one brown or black ink pad for this. I grabbed a stamp and a plastic doily and randomly stamped all over the pages. You don't need to invest in stamps for this -- you can use bubble wrap, plastic lids, the sole of an old flip flop, a pencil eraser, or whatever. You are not trying to make perfect stamped impressions. You are simply adding background texture. Some people like to use a black pen and make doodle marks or a bit of script here and there. Do whatever you like, experiment, and have fun with it. If you hate it, you can always glue or paint something over it.

I have a favorite product for altered art that I love, love love. It is these ColorBox Blends.

These little bottles contain ink that is applied with a foam applicator, straight from the bottle. They are so convenient, and perfect for lazy artists. It takes a little patience at first, to get the applicator loaded, and to learn how best to use it, but if you can get your hands on a few of these, they are a great addition to your altered art. Another option is to use spray inks for this step.

Of course, you don't need to use the ColorBox Blends or spray inks, you can add ink by using markers, as well. If you are using watercolor markers, experiment with coloring onto a tile and picking up the ink with a damp paintbrush and applying the watery ink to your pages. You can create some fun affects.

If your ink needs a little time to dry, you can splay the book open, and stand it on end, as shown, or you can hit it with a blow dryer.


You may choose to repeat some of the layers discussed above, or "call it done", or add a layer of something completely different, such as gel sticks, or colored pencil, or oil pastel to your background. You can randomly add thin layers of gesso, if you choose. This is entirely up to you. There are no rules.

I have a little basket that I use to collect magazine clippings and bits of trim or ribbon that fit the "feel" of the book I am working in. I usually apply these items with a glue stick, with the intention of applying Mod Podge or other clear drying medium to seal the pages later on.... or not.


Once your backgrounds are ready, you can pick up your book whenever the mood strikes and add pictures and words.

I find it helps rest my soul to grab an art journal or altered book at the end of a busy day and put my thoughts or feelings onto a page.

Sometimes I find a humorous or meaningful quote to add, sometimes I sketch something, sometimes I do both. You can type out your journaling or quotes and print it, as I did here, or you can do your own hand lettering. Or do a bit of both! Did I mention that there are no rules here?

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and feel inspired to create your own altered book! Do you already journal? Let me know in the comments -- I love to hear what you are thinking.

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To see what kind of papers and ephemera I save for mixed-media projects, click here.

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

How to Make a Giant Wallflower

I was recently inspired to make a giant flower for my wall when I saw one that Joanna Gaines used over a mantel in one of her installations.

Of course, this was at ten o'clock at night, after a home improvement TV marathon. No stores were open, so I needed to get creative with supplies!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Make a Special Bookmark from a Damaged Vintage Book

Earlier this year, I rescued a damaged vintage home decor book. The front and back covers were transformed into a portfolio for my planner. The spine was just too fragile to use for the planner, and had ripped away from the book.

For those of you who enjoy rescuing vintage books, here is a pretty project to make from all those damaged or fragile old book spines. It couldn't be simpler to do, and you can easily whip up several to sell or give as gifts in an afternoon.

Start by gathering up your supplies. You will need:

  • An old book spine
  • Eyelets
  • Eyelet Setter
  • Fabric Scrap
  • Stickers or text cut from old books -- whatever is handy (I used stickers and a piece of text cut from the same book the spine was taken from)
  • Decoupage Medium (I used Mod Podge, that I shared about in this post about favorite craft resources)

If the spine is still attached to the book cover, carefully remove it. Remove any bits of glue or threads from the spine and trim the sides evenly. Cut a piece of scrap fabric to fit the inside of the spine, and adhere with Mod Podge. Let dry. Now add stickers or paper scraps or book text to the book mark using your Mod Podge. You can add a protective layer of Mod Podge to the front side of the bookmark if you would like.

Using a hole punch and eyelet setter, add an eyelet to the top of the bookmark.

Tie on a piece of ribbon and you are done!

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please subscribe to House Revivals, so you won't miss any of the fun projects we have planned. Please feel free to share links to this project on your favorite social media sites -- you can use the handy icons at the bottom of this post.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

How to Organize Crafts With Dollar Store Supplies

I shared an update recently on our organizing efforts in our beach house attic. Here is the promised post on how we are using products from the dollar store (Dollar Tree) to organize craft supplies and tools.

While we are using larger tubs for fabrics and larger items, smaller items just get lost in a big tub. I wanted a solution that was cheap affordable, stackable, and see-through. I don't know about you, but I need to be able to see exactly what is in a container. It inspires me to use my materials and makes locating items easier. I've tried all the cute baskets and containers and "out of sight" storage ideas and they just do not work for me.

I also know that I need to keep tools close at hand, and easy to grab and put away. If it's hard, I just won't do it. I'll just pile stuff in a room and close the door -- with the best intentions of coming back and putting things away properly when I have more time.

Our beach house attic has nary a window, so I wanted something bright and colorful for tool storage. Our local Dollar Tree had the perfect solution -- these pretty pink tubs! I bought the matching square trays to help corral the tubs. Since the tubs are pretty lightweight, you can secure them to the tray with  hot glue or double-sided tape to keep them from tipping when they're loaded up with scissors.

I used larger pink tubs to store chunkier tools and supplies, such as hot glue sticks and guns.

For stamps and other small items, I used these flat tubs from Dollar Tree. These have been working so well for me at the beach house that I bought more of the tubs to organize my much smaller craft supply area in our crash pad in the city.

Our Dollar Tree had these cute sticker frames that are perfect for labeling the contents of a tub. The tubs also come in a taller size, with a slightly smaller lid. I purchased several of those for organizing crafts at the city crash pad.

This system is so much easier to use than the assorted baskets and drawers that I was using previously! You can have the best tools and supplies in the world, but if you can't find them or forget you have them, they are pretty much useless.

I love that our Dollar Tree offers storage and organizing solutions that anyone can afford. While it's great to be able to buy expensive craft storage systems, that's just not an option for a lot of people.

Do you have a favorite storage product from your dollar store? Let me know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to House Revivals so you won't miss any of the fun projects we have planned. Please feel free to link this post to your favorite social media sites.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

How We're Turning Our Attic into a Creative Studio

Progress on turning our beach house attic into a studio continues, albeit slowly. It seems like work and social obligations (and back to back colds and flues) have conspired to keep us in the city and away from our beach house for the last month.

On top of that, I misplaced the cord to transfer photos from my camera to my laptop (I finally gave up and ordered a new cord), and my cell phone broke, so I wasn't able to access attic progress pictures from the last visit, so I am waaaaaaay behind in updating you lovely readers!

As you can see, contents of boxes are still being disgorged, and transferred into plastic containers. Where did all that stuff come from? My husband just shakes his head, and mutters something that sounds like "hoarders".

Going through it all has seemed a bit overwhelming at times, but at least we can see the floor finally! I had to stop progress at this point, to order more containers. (Actually, that was just an excuse to leave the attic and go for a walk on the beach.)

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this little dress, packed away with some sewing supplies. This was supposed to be part of my daughter's first grade wardrobe. I loved making her these simple jumpers -- so easy to whip up!  All this dress needed was to have two buttons sewn on. Sigh....

I remember that we moved shortly after the school year started, for my husband's job, then were transferred again almost immediately, and the little dress was lost in the shuffle. By the time I was able to unpack it, my daughter had outgrown it. Now, she's nearly thirty and has her own little girl, Summer Rose. I guess I should just get busy and sew those buttons on so Summer can wear it, right?

Here is a reminder of how the attic looked in February. Click here to read more of that story!

I've enjoyed going through stuff, and organizing. Lots of organizing supplies have come from the Dollar Tree, which I will share more about in a future post. To see a list of craft supplies I always buy from the Dollar Tree, click here.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Make Wire Sphere Charms

Have you ever wondered how to make those fun little wire sphere charms used in assemblage jewelry making? It's easier than you think!

I was recently inspired to make wire sphere charms when I purchased an assemblage piece from the craft store.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DIY Rope Lampshades

New lampshades can cost a fortune, so whenever we can update the ones we already own, I'm all for it. Here is a DIY rope lampshade project I actually did last year, but in the craziness of life, it never quite made it onto the blog.

Our old house was a Queen Anne bungalow, and not all of the furnishings and accessories work in our contemporary rustic beach house.