Brown paper bags turned into holiday decorations

My sister-in-law is an amazing artist, one of those people who can do everything. She paints. She draws. She throws clay. She crafts. She crochets. She takes inspiring photographs. Even her name screams creative genius – Piper LaRue. Nice, right? So today I’m sharing a few of Piper’s masterpieces with you, specifically her hand-drawn gift bags. Yep, these all started as plain brown paper bags. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away after last Christmas so I trimmed, laminated, and framed them. Voila – handmade holiday decorations.

Santa Elvis

Santa fish

flying Santa

Santa puppet

If you don’t have access to an amazing young artist, you can find fabric and scrapbooking paper these days that’s frame-worthy. I’ve even seen some wrapping papers here that I would gladly hang on my wall. Do you have any “repurposed” holiday decorations? Send me a link, I’d love to see it.


Roadside redo: outdoor flower table

outdoor flower table

I found this filthy little plastic table on the side of the road one morning and decided it needed a makeover. I took it home, cleaned it up, and spray painted it brown spray. Then, since I was going to be using it on my patio, I decided to add a flower to the top. I used a pencil to lightly sketch the shape and filled it in with several coats of acrylic paint. Lastly, I finished it off with a protective clear coat so it would hold up under a summer’s worth of vodka tonics. Ta-da!

Do you have any roadside finds that you’ve transformed into masterpieces?

outdoor table redo

Painted rocks

I was clicking through Pinterest the other day and found this.

Inspired Bohemia

Click on the link and you’ll find some incredible art work, all of it on rocks. Personally, my first thought was, “what a cheap way to get the kids out of my house for a whole afternoon.” So I found a couple rocks, dug out a box of acrylic paints, sent the kids outside, and locked the doors. I wasn’t expecting much other than a little peace and quiet. Super-proud-mama-moment when my eight-year-old pounded on the window to show me this.

painted owl rock

How freakin’ cute is he? Seriously, I underestimated the little booger-head. Tomorrow I’m putting her out with a hammer, nails, and some scrap wood. Maybe she’ll build an addition on the house.

T is for Tree Mural: A-Z Blog Challenge

A couple weeks ago I posted a picture of the “fashion girls” mural I painted on my daughters’ bedroom wall, and I promised to show you the mural that took its place. Here it is!

tree wall mural

The design is based on a picture my daughter found in this book, A Guide to Pixie Hollow, which explains some of my “artistic” choices. For example, you might think I painted random gold, glittery, vertical stripes in the trunk but those are actually pixie dust waterfalls. (This tree is where the pixie dust is created.)

tree wall mural

And those mysterious things stuck on the tree trunk? Those are the fairies’ houses. They light up at night and cast fun shadows across the wall.

tree wall mural

When I was done painting and stapling up all those branches I decided to add some patio lights to finish off the whole thing. See my baby snuggled up in her Tinkerbell bed tent under there?

tree wall mural

This was my first attempt at painting a tree and while I’m really pleased with how it turned out, it was a big challenge for me. Anyone out there done this before? Thinking about giving it a try? I would love to hear from you.

Q is for Quote On The Wall: A-Z Blog Challenge

Long, long ago in a land before Uppercase Living and Cricut machines, I wanted a quote on my kitchen soffit. I decided to test my DIY skills and freehand it. Here are the results.

quote on the wall

quote on the wall

quote on the wall

quote on the wall


quote on the wall

quote on the wall

In wine there is wisdom. In beer there is strength. In water there is bacteria.

I’ve considered re-doing it using some of today’s new tools to make it look more professional and polished. But I always decide against it. There’s just something I love about knowing I did it all by myself!

D is for Dresser Redo: A-Z Blog Challenge

I bought this dresser at a garage sale for $2. It was wobbly and the bottom drawer didn’t open, but for $2 I couldn’t resist.

D is for dresser redo

Removing the legs was all it took to fix the wobble. The drawer was more challenging. After I finally got it pried open, I used a bar of soap to “grease” the old wooden glides. It took a lot of time, and a lot of soap, but it worked. As an added bonus the soap helped improve the musty smell, too.

With that accomplished it was time for the fun stuff. I wanted to try a faux woodgraining technique but, as usual, had to mix it up with something a little silly and playful. Here’s the AFTER.

D is for dresser redo

D is for dresser redoSorry there aren’t more pics but with the wall on one side and bed on the other I couldn’t really find any other angles to shoot. I didn’t refinish the top or sides at all, and I left the original color behind the stencil. I might do more with it sometime but for now it’s the perfect little $2 treasure.

This post is the fourth in a series of 26 inspired by the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Click over and see all the amazing bloggers working their way through the alphabet in April.

B is for Birds On A Wire: A-Z Blog Challenge

This is for all of you with two-story homes. You know that giant, blank space above your staircase? I’m talking about the one you see when you’re walking down the stairs. The one that stretches 9-12 feet overhead and is totally blank. Maybe you’re lucky and have an elegant light fixture hanging there, filling the void. But if you’re like me, you have nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. My thrifty solution? Some paint and an inexpensive wall decal from “Target The Great”.

Imagine these as one big, ceiling-to-floor photo. I know it looks like the side walls are
two different colors but I promise, it’s just the poor lighting. 
Birds on a wire

Birds on a wire


Here’s a close-up of that one little orange birdy.

Birds on a wire

I divided the space into three equal sections and painted each one a different shade. I custom-mixed the colors by adding white to the paint I already had from the surrounding hallway. No measuring or math required, just stir in some white until you like it.The bird decals were something I had from a previous project. I originally planned to hang some decorative moulding between the sections but decided the birds would be more fun. Lastly, the birdcage came from the hospital gift shop where I volunteer. (Yep, hospital gift shop.) I bought the chain at ACE Hardware for less than $1 and spray painted it black. Voila.Do you have a huge, blank wall in your home? What have you used to fill the space?

This post is the second in a series of 26 inspired by the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Click over and see all the amazing bloggers working their way through the alphabet in April.

DIY Masterpiece Monday: Painted Pumpkins

painted pumpkin copy painted pumpkin at door copy

I painted this artificial pumpkin a few years ago and it still makes me smile every October. I’m pretty sure I got the idea from a Better Homes & Gardens Magazine but I can’t remember for sure. The shape (a modified bowling pin) was easy to sketch in pencil then fill in with black acrylic paint from Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. I used a pencil eraser dipped in white paint for the necklace/collar and a couple coats of yellow for the eyes. Add a few shots of clear acrylic spray to preserve your work and it’s all done. I’ve used it various places over the years but I think my favorite is at the front door under the pot of glowing eyeballs. What creative things have you made using pumpkins?