DIY Yarn Tassels and Branch Art

I’ve needed a craft project in my life. I’ve spent a bunch of time cleaning up my craft room (which quickly becomes our crap room), and noticed that my work bench needed a little something. After perusing Pinterest and taking stock of my supplies, I decided to try my hand at making yarn tassels.

Tassels are super easy to make– the perfect, mindless craft to do while watching a movie or a preseason football game. Yes, I just finished this as we watch the Ravens preseason game, which started a few minutes ago. Can you believe it’s football season already? Me neither.

Anyway, here’s how I made the tassels. First, I took my yarn and grabbed the end in my hand. Then, I wrapped the yarn from my hand to my elbow, back and forth in circles, until I’d circled my arm 15 times. This created a good length of tassel for what I was looking to create.

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Next, I took the yarn off my arm and cut at the top and again at the bottom. Now I had about 30 (if I counted correctly as I wrapped… and let’s be real, I’m easily distracted) strings of yarn about the same length as each other.

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After this step, I cut a piece of yarn and wrapped it around the cut bunch of yarn, knotting it securely at the midpoint of the group of yarn. I also knotted it at the top.

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At this point, I had an unruly yarn octopus. Time to tassel. I cut another piece of yarn and knotted it around the yarn, which at this point has folded in half over the hanger I just made.

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I left a little tail of yarn, then started wrapping the long yarn around the yarn until it was at its end. Then, I knotted the end of that string with the tail I’d left earlier. I trimmed the leftover yarn and tucked the knot under the freshly wrapped yarn.

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That’s it, folks. Each tassel takes a minute or so to make. They go really quick!

I had light pink, coral, teal, white and gray yarn, so I made tassels for a few days as we vegged on the couch. Then, when I had more than I needed, I grabbed a birch branch that I brought back from Maine last year and strung the tassel along the branch. You can easily go in and shorten the length of your tassels if they are too long by tying a knew knot and trimming the excess yarn.

When I had the branch filled to a capacity I was happy with and in a pattern I liked, I wrapped gray yarn around both ends and created a hanger for this new tassel art. Then, I hammered a nail into the wall above my craft room workbench and hung up my masterpiece!

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How cute did that turn out!? It’s just the pop of color and texture my craft room needed. That teal wall had been empty for too long!

Fixing up a busted dresser

Gosh, it’s been at least a year, if not more, since I fell in love with this antique dresser at a thrift store near my house.

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The zebra(ish) wood was to die for and the price was right, so I scooped it up and let it sit sit sit for a long while. Even though it didn’t work well (broken drawer pulls & drawers that slid too far in or sat unevenly), I still stored lots of goodies in it. Last night, I decided to take advantage of my break from grad school to fix up the piece. I almost died doing it (OK, not really… but take your time with mitre saws, people!).

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The main issue with the dresser was with the top two drawers. Over the years, the center support had fallen out. This caused both drawers to lean into the dresser and into the drawer beneath when pushed all of the way in. You could get them to sit right, but one nudge would send both askew and all of the things you were storing crashing to the back of the drawer.

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To fix this, I cut down some scrap wood to fill the gap from the front of the dresser to the back. I screwed in two support blocks, one at the front and one at the back, to nail this makeshift rail into. Then, I glued and nailed a thin piece of wood to act as the rail guide so one drawer couldn’t encroach on the other drawer’s space (my sisters and I could have used something like this in the back seat of mom’s car growing up!)

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I let that dry overnight because I used WAY too much wood glue. This morning I put all of the drawers back and fixed some busted hardware, making for one beautiful, well-working dresser!

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The dresser still isn’t perfect. There are nicks along the edges and a few chips in the top. But it’s GORGEOUS! I can look past the imperfections (OK, I love the imperfections) now that it’s working good as new.

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I mean, just look at those curves! Ow owwww!

The one remaining thing to figure out is if I want to replace the top two drawer pulls. They don’t work the best and only one set had the decorative washers to hid the hardware — if you look close you can see dar circles around the top left drawer pull. Other than that, this dresser is good to go!

Did I mention we redid our kitchen?

My kitchen is never clean enough to photograph. It’s not that we’re gross people, or so I tell myself. But something is always on the counter that shouldn’t be, or there’s a tumbleweed of dog hair on the floor, or we went to bed without loading all of the dishes into the sink. Basically, we’re normal human beings. So it’s taken me FOREVER to make my kitchen photo worthy, even though it’s been complete for at least two months. It was only after I took these photos that I noticed the side and top of the fridge look like the normal hot mess they always are, but screw it. My house never looks perfect, and I think that is just fine for you all to see.

So, here is our finished kitchen!

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If you’re interested in the whole story, I’ll start from the beginning. Here is the grand before shot (although the wall’s been opened at this point). See, we love us a cluttered fridge!

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We did three main things: walls, floors and cabinets.

You already saw in this post that we widened the doorway in our kitchen, removing the door completely and bumping the walls to the edge of the cabinets and to the ceiling. It made our first floor feel a lot more open concept without removing all that much drywall. And the kitchen feels giant now! We are also really enjoying having our table where it was designed to be, in the middle of the dining room rather than up against the wall. It is easier to get around both sides of the table, which is really convenient if we have guests.

Before:

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After:

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We also lightened the wall color, using the same Sea Salt green paint we chose for our bedroom.

The second thing we did was the floors, and all of the kuddos go to Brian. While I was working from home, he removed all of the tile floor, which had been cracking, chipping and losing grout at an alarming pace for years.

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I HATED the kitchen floors before. They were cheap, ugly and poorly installed. Even the subfloor was a welcome change to the tile.

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So when we started talking about redoing the hardwoods throughout the rest of the house, we decided to get a quote for laying hardwoods in the kitchen and feathering them into the existing floors.

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I am so so happy we did this. It gives the first floor a cohesive look since there isn’t a glaring transition between the kitchen and dining room. And since there isn’t a threshold between the spaces, it makes cleaning the floors a breeze.

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The last thing we did, which I get to take all of the credit for, was painting the cabinets. I did a lot of research on the best paint to use for kitchen cabinets and settled on Benjamin Moore Advance paint. I’ve used Benjamin Moore Impervo paint on a dresser before, and it’s held up remarkably well. The only blemish is when Brian ran into it on a hoverboard. Womp womp.

The Benjamin Moore store was great. And no, I was not given free paint to say that.  I went in to talk to the people and they recommended I come back and bring in a door and a sample of the backsplash tile we want to eventually install. After seeing the door, they recommended a specific primer based on the type of existing finish. And after much debate and opinions from most of the staff, we ended up choosing Decorator’s White, which I would describe as a pretty pure white. It definitely doesn’t skew warm, which is good because I didn’t want that at all. Once I bought the paint, we got to work taking down and labeling all of the doors.

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Then came the “fun” part. I sanded, dusted, deglossed and primed all of the doors and the base cabinets. I also caulked gaps between the base cabinets and walls and filled holes from shoddy installation (thanks, Fannie Mae!).

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Then, I applied three coats to all of the cabinets. This took longer on the doors because of the front and back factor. I wanted to do this right, so I forced myself to take my time and not rush through the painting. It took me about the standard length of a movie to do a coat on the cabinets, so once I figured that out I started enjoying the monotony of painting a bit more.

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And then we waited. We waited for the doors to dry. We waited for the floors to cure. We waited and waited. And once we were satisfied that we wouldn’t muck up all of the hard work we’d done to prepare, we reassembled the cabinets.

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The difference was astounding.

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The whole space seems so much larger and brighter!

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And did I mention I got a fancy glass-top stove! Swoon. Buh-bye coils!

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The cabinets have held up pretty well so far. I touched up a few spots that got dinged from us putting them back up, and the Benjamin Moore paint is really great for that. Touch-ups don’t stand out as fresh paint. I suspect I’ll have to touch up every now and then, but these cabinets are really and experiment to see how white cabinets hold up in general to kitchen grime. If we ever redo a kitchen in another house down the road, I think I’d definitely choose white cabinets again.

So there you have it, folks. It was a helluva lot of work, but man it was worth it! Our first floor is a brand new space and we love it.

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One last time:

Before:

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After:

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