Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March Mantel

I love chartreuse green and since it is the accent colour in my Living Room, I was eager to transform my mantel from

Valentine’s Day . . .

alittlesomethinginthemeantime's February Mantel
to St. Patrick’s Day . . .

alittlesomethinginthemeantime's March Mantel
as we prepare for the arrival of Spring!

Styling my March mantel involved “shopping the house” for green decor and several quick D.I.Y. projects. I am excited to share the two that incorporated my Silhouette Cameo!

Next week I will be sharing tutorials for my mantel projects . . .

Shamrock Paint Chip Banner

(Find the tutorial here)

Negative Die-Cut Subway Art

(Find the tutorial here)

Paint Chip Rainbow

(Find the tutorial here)

I hope you will come back to find out how to create some fun seasonal decor for free or almost free!

Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

{Pretty} Dishwasher Tab Storage

I have come to realize that if something I use for organizing isn’t pretty, I probably won’t stick to using it.

I have searched high and low for a pretty way to store my dishwasher tabs under the sink. Yes, I know, most tabs already come in re-sealable containers but the packaging is finicky and I knew it could be improved upon.

Silhouette Cameo to the rescue!

Using a cookie tin with a plastic lid (I may have had to eat the cookies to free up the tin for my project . . . ), spray adhesive, a strip of scrapbook paper, ribbon and contact paper, I created this quick (and pretty!) storage solution.

pretty dishwasher tab storage

After measuring around the tin, I created a rectangular shape in Silhouette Studio and cut my scrapbook paper. I sprayed both the tin and my paper with adhesive and carefully covered the tin. The paper was not quite long enough so I covered the seam with coordinating ribbon.

Next, I searched for dish shapes in the Silhouette Store. I finally found this shape and ungrouped it so that I could use just what I needed for my project.

Dishwasher Tabs screenshot edit

I opted to use contact paper instead of vinyl since my shape was so small. Using the cutting mat, my settings were:

Blade – 1

Speed – 5

Thickness – 7

This cut cleanly through the contact paper without cutting the backing.

My last step was to transfer my design to the lid of the tin. I considered labeling the tin but thought that would make it look too busy. A label would look great on something without a pattern.

This particular container holds approximately 20 tabs. It is airtight but still easy to open and close.

Dishwasher Tab Storage Open Lid

Now, it puts a smile on my face when I open up the cupboard and see my pretty little tin of tabs.

Thanks for visiting!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Etched Glass Pet Bowl

This is Pumpkin . . .


This is why her name is Pumpkin . . .

2009 470

Well, not really, but she certainly grew into her name. 

Pumpkin is currently recovering from an injury to the feline equivalent of your A.C.L. It breaks our hearts to watch her limp around the house. Fortunately, she has not lost her appetite or her stubbornness.

Today I thought I would share the water bowl that I made for Pumpkin a few weeks ago when I first tried etching cream. 

Don’t be scared of glass etching because it really is as easy as it sounds. The hardest part was getting a decent photo!

Etched Water Bowl How To

Materials Needed:

  • Glass etching cream (I used etchAll)
  • Something to etch (I used a square, glass bowl from Walmart – chosen because it had an unmarked bottom, no brand name etc.)
  • Stencil of your design (I used my Silhouette Cameo and Contact paper)
  • Brush for applying cream
  • Gloves


Etched Water Bowl Studio Screenshot Steps

* Tip Alert * Surround the image to be cut with another shape (like my square above). This will allow you to remove the Contact paper, vinyl etc. from its backing while keeping the negative of your image intact. Size your shape to be approximately the same size as the area you are etching. This will also protect the glass that you are not etching.

4. Adhere your stencil to the surface to be etched. Burnish the edges so that the cream can’t seep under the stencil. If you are etching something that will hold food, remember to only stencil the outside of the container.

5. While wearing gloves, generously apply etching cream to the entire area being etched. Immediately wipe off any cream that is outside your stencil.

6. Wait at least 15 minutes. It it hard to see that something is happening, but it is.  I left the cream on for over 20 minutes, just in case.

7. Return as much product to the bottle as possible. Rinse off any remaining residue.

That’s it!

Etched Water Bowl Detail Shot

Now, Pumpkin has a special water bowl parked right beside her favourite container.  Soon that will have a pretty label, too.

Etched Water Bowl Action Shot edit

* To create Pumpkin’s personalized bowl I used the font Smiley Monster and, for Silhouette users, the shape bubbles_h2o_phrase_C01268_17986.

I hope my tutorial encourages someone to try glass etching for the first time!

Thanks for visiting!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

My Beautiful Craft Closet

Throughout my life I have been a collector of stuff.  I look at something and think “you never know when this might come in handy!” Since I am a teacher without a classroom to call my own, I need to stay flexible with the resources that I own.  This translates into an enormous amount of teaching supplies that inhabit my house, and still, three years later, my parents’ basement (thank you, Mom and Dad).  Until recently these supplies were also taking up critical space in my office closet.  One day I realized that the most efficient way to use this room was to organize it so that it only housed things that I needed for my office, or my hobbies.  I wanted a space that I could enjoy, where everything had a home.  Now, with the exception of my huge children’s book collection, this is exactly what you will find in my office/craft room.

To give you some perspective, here is what my office looked like when we first viewed our house.  Yuck!


After about a year of living here, my lovely husband offered to paint my office. I chose Behr’s Azure Blue because it was such a happy, vibrant colour that would pair well with black and white accents.

Over the next two years the space evolved with the addition of scrapbook storage cubes, grown-up office furniture and a pretty rug.

Despite my best efforts, the closet continued to be a dumping ground for things that did not need to be there, while many things that should have been inside the closet ended up in piles around our house.

One day over the Christmas holidays I reached my breaking point.  Everything came out of the closet, and a new craft closet was born!

I wasn’t thinking about blogging when I took on this project so here is my almost starting point:

Closet Before (Medium)

First, my husband cut two new deeper shelves to replace the previous hanging rod and narrow shelf. Then, using a variety of storage boxes and baskets, my lovely blue drawers (with a piece of foam core cut to act as a shelf on top) and a shoe organizer from Lowe’s, my closet transformed into this:

Closet After

My Beautiful Office (6)

My Beautiful Office (4)

My Beautiful Office (8)

Now, my office closet matches the functional beauty of the rest of my office.

My Beautiful Office CollageEdit

More on that another day . . .

Thanks for visiting!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

My Favourite Way To Use Paint Chips

paint chip bucket

I am the first to admit that I have a paint chip problem. I was a little too excited when I discovered that my Silhouette would cut paint chips.

Living in a older house that has a lot of unexpected quirks, we end up at Home Depot, Lowe’s and/or Rona just about every weekend (sometimes we even hit all three in one trip). So how do I make the best of the situation? By finding refuge in the paint department! I love a bargain and free is the best bargain of all.

In 2010 I made a few paint chip pumpkins like these for Halloween but they were tedious to assemble because they had to be glued together with hot glue. In 2011 I revisited my pumpkins but tweaked their construction so that I could flatten them for storage. I loved my bucket of pumpkins so much that I decided to create a year-round display of paint chip balls that incorporated the many colours of my Living Room carpet.

Here is how to transform 2 or 3 paint chips into fun paint chip balls:

paint chip ball tutorial collage

  • paint chips – I really like the size of Behr, Martha Stewart and Olympic chips
  • paper trimmer or scissors
  • corner rounder (optional but it makes the top and bottom look neat and tidy)
  • hole punch
  • brads

Step 1. Cut your paint chips into strips approx. 1 inch wide. If you want an ombre look to your ball, cut the strip from top to bottom to get all the colours on one strip.

Step 2. Round the corners of each strip. Time consuming but very much worth it!

Step 3. Punch holes at each end for your brad.

Step 4. Align the holes at both ends, making a stack of your strips.

Step 5. Fasten the strips together with your brads.

Step 6. Fan out your strips to create a sphere shape. Depending on the length and width of your strips, I usually find that 7 or 8 strips will make a nice, full ball.

Step 7. Admire your free decorative filler!

These add a nice pop of colour anywhere and can be changed out to match seasonal decor. As an added bonus, they are kid-friendly as my 15 month old niece demonstrated last weekend while emptying and filling the bucket again and again! Smile

paint chip balls

Look for more paint chip projects in the future – I have several from Valentine’s Day and I just started my St. Patrick’s Day stash!

Thanks for visiting!

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekend “Crafternoon”

One of my favourite ways to pass the time on the weekend is to have an afternoon of crafting, aka a “crafternoon.” This usually entails surrounding myself with craft supplies until you can barely see the floor of my office/craft room. Today was no different!

My goal for the afternoon was to get the ballpoint pen holder of my Silhouette Cameo working properly with a black pen so that I can use it to add sentiments to cards. I originally bought two packages of Silhouette Sketch Pens but find that they take a really long time to sketch and the colours are very muted on my favourite card background – kraft paper cardstock. I managed to find a package of black ballpoint pens at the grocery store (for 44 cents!) with a top that unscrews so that the ink cartridge fits into the narrow base of the pen holder while still being held inside the barrel. It took a week of searching for pens, some help from Pinterest and a lot of trial & error but I finally have success!

Here is what I used to create today’s card:
pennant card supplies

And here is what I made:
You could use a stamp for the sentiment or, if you have a Silhouette, let a pen do the work for you.

Weekend Crafternoon = Success!

Thanks for reading!

Getting My Feet Wet

Welcome!  After almost three years of reading other people’s blogs, I have finally decided to join the masses. Motivated (and helped) by my wonderful sister-in-law, I am ready to share all of the DIY creations and projects that I have been doing to keep busy “in the meantime.” 
By “in the meantime,” I am referring to my day job as an elementary school teacher.  For almost 6 years I have been teaching in other people’s classrooms in a supply teacher role, or as a long term replacement for a teacher on maternity leave. I remain hopeful that this will be the year that I finally get some type of contract, but the job prospects for permanent teaching positions in my city are slim.
Supply teaching is unpredictable and there are weeks where I teach only one day, or all five. I am a procrastinator by nature, so when faced with an unplanned day off I like to spend my time crafting, trolling Google Reader and Pinterest for ideas and searching for bargains in unexpected places.  Only when I run out of inspiration do I turn to cleaning!
In November I received the holy grail of crafting tools for my birthday – a Silhouette Cameo. I love it!  I am still learning the ins and outs of this tool but it has shown itself to be useful in many unexpected ways.  You can look forward to many Silhouette project posts in the future including some to tuck away for Valentine’s Day next year since I was a little slow to dip my big toe in the blogging ocean.
So . . . stay tuned and thank you for joining me on my blogging adventure! There are many parts of my blog that still need to be set up, but I just can’t wait any longer! I look forward to seeing where this journey takes me.
Thanks for reading!

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