Jute Cross Wall Art

In the weeks leading up to Easter, I’d wanted to make something that showcased a cross. It’s always nice to have a few Easter-specific decorations to add to the overall spring décor.

I’ve liked the look of the nail art that took Pinterest by storm earlier this year. You’ve probably seen it; usually it’s a state outline such as this one. Given its materials, to me, this would be the perfect means for my Easter cross.

I chose to work with jute for this project (I’ve got tons left over from my wrapped Easter eggs). I’m sure you could use twine, yarn, or string as well.

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What you need:

Wood- we have plenty of remnants from which to choose

Fine grit sandpaper

Circular Saw- if you need to cut your wood

Stain or paint

Stain rag or paintbrush

Clear finish- I used some that we had on hand





Step 1:

Using a circular saw cut your wood down to the size/shape you want it to be. I settled on a good old fashioned rectangle. This will be leaning against a wall on a shelf, so I didn’t make it that large, only 10.5 x 13. Give your wood a quick sand to ensure there are no jagged pieces anywhere.

Step 2:

Stain or paint your wood. I wanted to keep the natural look of the wood so I decided on stain. I’ve used Minwax before and was happy with the results—this time I went with the color Provincial. Follow the directions on your stain can to make sure you use the correct procedure. After your stain dries, apply a coat of finish. Let dry completely- I decided to let it dry overnight and pick up with the rest of the project the next day.

Step 3:

I did a quick sketch of my cross on paper so I could choose the shape/size I wanted it to be. I also made sure to decide on where I wanted my nails to go. I settled with only doing nails in the corners of the cross—quite different from the state nail art that uses tons of nails.

Step 4:

Lay your sketch on top of your wood. You could just hammer in your nails where you want them to go, and when finished, tear away your paper. However, I chose to use an awl to mark where my nails would go. I then took off the paper and got to hammering. Remember not to nail them all the way down—you need to have nail exposed to wrap the jute around!

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Step 5:

Now that you have your outline/nails in place, start wrapping. Make sure you tie a knot around your first and last nails so it doesn’t unravel. I chose to keep my wrapping to a minimum because I wanted this design to be simplistic and not too “perfect” looking.

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      I’m quite happy with how this came out. It’s a nice nod to the meaning behind the holiday.



A Truckin’ Good Time- A Truck Birthday

A Truck Birthday Party

My littlest guy turned 2 a few weeks ago. He loves cheese curls, trucks, and “good guys.” Since every toy Ronan plays with  are called “good guys” and a party of cheese curls would be weird, I figured a truck/car themed birthday would be a little easier to create. Now the theme isn’t cohesive as I have construction themed cakes, box racecars, and “Pin the Tire on the Monster Truck”, but Ronan didn’t care, which is good enough for me.

Now there are a lot of fabulous birthday ideas on Pinterest. A lot. But, I am not  one who goes all out on birthday parties, but I don’t judge those who do either because I sure love going to those parties because they are AWESOME! I just don’t do giant parties. It’s all a matter of preference. I would say “Different Strokes for Different Folks,” but my students at school tell me that I sound really old when I say that, so I won’t (and I just did– oops).

 My kids’ parties are not huge, nor do the break the budget, but I do enjoy creating a party that is made for them. I enjoy  making (and enlisting help with) the cake, the decorations, and the games. However, if making banners, cakes, and games makes you want to vomit, then by all means take another route and know that I will not judge (not that you needed my permission to begin with).

Whew. With that said, I am really excited to show you this Truck Birthday Party we had for my sweet Ronan.

Let’s get to the most important part of any party: the cake. Obviously.

The big cake is a cinch to decorate. You just slop and slap that chocolate icing on ( I make a mean homemade chocolate icing– it’s super easy and ridiculously delicious, and that’s me being modest!). Pile a lot on the top, plop a couple construction trucks on the top, and sprinkle some crushed Oreos and chocolate chips. Really that’s it. A Truck Birthday Cake!

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Notice the city background? I found it in the boys’ toybox and thought it would be cute to have a city skyline behind the construction cake.

The cupcakes were easy, too. I like to vary my cupcakes so they are not all the same. Something about giving the eye a rest or not having 24 trucks…

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As for games, my kids love any type of “Pin the__________ on the _________” game, so I made a “Pin the Tire on the Monster Truck.” In a moment of genius, I wrote each kid’s name on a tire, so it was clear whose tire was whose. I’m sure writing the name on the object being pinned has been done before, but just give me my moment of glory before you strip it away.

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Check out these cute racecars for Ronan’s Truck Birthday. I have some dear friends in my life, who helped withthese cars for the kids to race. They are made out of printer paper boxes. How stinkin’ cute, right?

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Of course, because I love banners (as evidenced by my numerous St. Patrick’s Day Banners: Kiss Me, I’m Burlap Banner, and Easy Paper Bunting), I had to have one for the Birthday Boy.

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It was a Truckin’ Good Time for a Truck Birthday Party.


Circles Circles on the Wall

One thing I’ve learned from endless hours spent watching HGTV is that a coat of paint is the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to refresh a space. Influenced by my favorite designers Candice Olsen and Sarah Richardson (Scott Magillvrary is easy on the eyes, I mean has nice designs, too), I like to create some drama and interest in a room by using patterns. I’ve painted wide horizontal stripes in our dinning room, thin vertical stripes in the powder room and circles in L’s nursery. The first two were nothing a little painter’s tape couldn’t handle. The circle pattern, however, proved to be a bit of a thinker, especially when I had the pregnancy fog.

I thought I would share how I created the graphic circle pattern.

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Step 1: I hunted down some tools. A piece of string and two pencils will do the trick but conveniently I had a giant safety compass and chalk on hand. The perks of my job!

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Step 2: I measured the length and width of the wall and decided on the radius of the circles. Since I wanted a more graphic look, I needed the circles to be fairly large. I did some division using the length of the wall and went with 22 inches as the diameter (11 inches as the radius).

Step 3: I drew all of the outer circles starting from the upper left corner of the wall. Using the length of the radius, I measured 11 inches from the ceiling down and side in. The intersection point was the center of my first circle. I placed the center of my compass there and drew the circle.

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For the second circle, I measured 22 inches down from the center of the first circle and 11 inches in from the wall. I marked that point then drew a circle. I repeated this process all the down to the bottom of the wall. The circles on the very bottom did not go all the way around. I didn’t mind since they were covered by furniture anyway.

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I started the second column by measuring 22 inches (length of the diameter) to the right of the center of  first column, marked the center then drew the next circle. Things after this point were pretty systematic. It didn’t take long before all the outer circles were complete.

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Step 4: This was the easy part. Using the already marked centers, I drew the inner circles. I made the radius of the inner circles 2 inches shorter creating a band between the circles.

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Step 5: I painted the space between the outer and inner circles with a small paint brush. Whenever I “colored outside of the lines”, I used a little wall paint to fix the spot.

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There are probably more efficient ways to create this patten, but this approach worked for me. Have you painted any patterns? Or are you thinking of creating a pattern on your wall? Share your projects and ideas with us. We’d happy to help you figure out the math too.

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