Home Improvement

No splinters for you!

My husband and dad did the un-fun task this summer of redoing our deck. After years of weather left the decking worn and splintery, we decided it was time — especially with a baby soon to be on the move. We didn’t want to have to worry about her soft skin on the rough wood.

Speaking of our little one, I was on baby duty, so I wasn’t much help on this project. OK, I wan’t any help. And I’ll admit, it was tough to just be a spectator! But I documented, and that’s something… right?

Here’s the deck (mostly) before:

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You can see some of the damage on the individual boards here. Thankfully the supports were in good shape so they only had to replace old boards and railings.

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New treads!

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New rails:

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For the decking, they took off some of the old boards before adding the new boards. It was easier and safer for them to work that way.

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The baby liked to watch.

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They discovered the most perfect egg during the renovation.

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Progress:

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Here is the final result:

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The best part? The Maryland flag and baby swing.

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It took them a week to do the project, and it turned out wonderfully.

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Craft Projects, Quick and Easy Crafts

Whimsical (Faux) Dreamcatcher

I found a bunch of unused ribbon when cleaning my craft room a few weeks ago and decided to put it to use by turning it into a whimsical dreamcatcher.

For this project I needed:

  • 1 small embroidery hoop
  • Lots of ribbon
  • Tape
  • Embellishments
  • Thread
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Steps:

  1. First, separate your embroidery hoop. You only need the inner circle.
  2. Take ribbon and wrap the embroidery hoop. Secure the ends with tape or glue. Mine didn’t meet up, but it didn’t matter.
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  3. Create a hanger for the dreamcatcher by knotting a piece of ribbon in the empty area or where your ends meet. Wrap that ribbon around to cover the tape/glue used to secure the other ribbon. Knot to secure the hanger and tuck and excess ribbon  and the knot underneath ribbon wrapped around the hoop.
  4. Hang your colorful ribbon in random lengths along the bottom of your dreamcatcher, opposite the hanger. Depending on the style of ribbon, I either knotted the ribbon to keep it secure, or simply looped it through itself to keep it attached. (Tip: The thick, wavy ribbon was really hard to knot, so I looped this to secure. Thinner strands knotted and likely would’ve fallen off over time. I basically judged by the style of ribbon.)
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    I wanted more color and more volume, so I ran to Michael’s to grab a few more spools of ribbon.
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  5. Add any embellishments you want! I made a felt flower for mine. You can see a tutorial for that here. To secure it to the dreamcatcher I simply stitched it through a few strands of the ribbon I’d wrapped around the hoop.
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  6. Hang and enjoy!
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It’s not a real dream catcher because I didn’t add strands of ribbon through the middle of the hoop to catch dreams, but it’s so charming nonetheless.

Pro tip: Ribbon is shockingly expensive. I had a bunch in my craft room, and for the extras I hit up the ribbon dollar bin at JoAnne’s (pre-project) and the $0.50 ribbon section at Michael’s (mid-project). Overall, this cost me $3.50 for the extra ribbon and $1.17 for felt — I had the rest of the supplies on hand. It’s even cuter since it cost under $5!

Craft Projects

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!