Author Archives: Tracy Anderson

About Tracy Anderson

Tracy has worked as a freelance copywriter and marketing consultant for more than 16 years. During that time, she also opened and ran an eclectic wine shop on Cape Cod with her sister. She and her son Max, 10, live in Yarmouthport.

Weekend Projects: 5 Favorite DIY Wall Clocks

Make a wall clock that will not only tell people what time it is, but also express your personal style, interests, and creativity. It's not hard to do—you just need a bit of inspiration and a little time.

Since their advent in the Middle Ages, clocks have been made in a seemingly infinite range of styles. Even in the present day, they continue to be reinvented, with do-it-yourselfers coming up with ever more creative designs. It’s easy to join the fun: All you need is a DIY clock kit—the kind sold in most craft stores. The rest just depends on your imagination. Need a little help getting started? Scroll down to see five favorite DIY clock projects, any of which could be re-created in no time.

 

1. PLAY WITH DOMINOES

DIY Clock - Dominoes

Photo: emmasnookandgranny.com

Is that old dominoes set gathering dust in your drawer? It’s almost begging to be part of a DIY clock project! After all, there’s a domino tile to correspond with every hour in the livelong day. Once they’re properly arranged, simply glue the dominoes onto your chosen clock face. Emma’s Nook and Granny cleverly used cookware.

 

2. FOCUS ON FRAMES

DIY Clock - Frames

Photo: photojojo.com

Here’s a DIY clock that gives you hourly reason to appreciate your framed photos and keepsakes. To make yours, start by cutting a piece of white cardboard for the clock face. Proceed to mount the clock, hanging a dozen 2″ x 3″ frames around it. The only difficult part, the instructions note, is choosing what to put in the frames.

 

3. VOTE FOR VINYL

DIY Clock - Vinyl

Photo: stellajames.etsy.com

Where does the time go? We used to love our records, and now we drop them off by the boxful at Goodwill. Before purging your collection, why not set aside one of your favorites and make something to commemorate the good old days. Watch this video tutorial to see how easy it can be to transform an LP into a rockin’ DIY clock.

 

4. GO GLOBAL

DIY Clock - Globe

Photo: handywoman47.etsy.com

Out of one cardboard globe, you can make two worldly DIY clocks within minutes. First, score the globe across its equator. Next, slice the sphere in half. Drill holes at the poles, then slide the clock mechanisms through. That’s it! Gift the extra to a friend or hang the pair side by side, setting each to a different time zone.

 

5. MAKE WITH MAGAZINES

DIY Clock - Magazines

Photo: brandyfisher.blogspot.com

Believe it or not, the colorful coils of this clock come from old magazines! No tools are required for this DIY—just patience. What you do is tightly twist magazine pages around a pencil, closing each roll with a dab of glue. Once you have made an ample supply, glue the coils together in whatever arrangement looks best.


Weekend Projects: 5 “Make Your Own” Kitchen Islands

By cleverly repurposing readily available materials, you can create a convenient and functional kitchen island without the expense of an elaborate custom renovation.

In the kitchen, an island is surrounded on all sides not by water, but by foot traffic and day-to-day household activity. Situated at the heart of the home’s busiest room, a well-designed kitchen island justifies its pride of place in three ways. First, it extends the work surface area, picking up where the countertops leave off. Second, it offers additional (and often much-needed) storage space. And third, the kitchen island makes possible the convenience of casual dining, not to mention the simple joy of just hanging out. Can you reap these benefits without committing to the cost and interruption of a full-blown renovation? Absolutely. Even within a weekend, you can build a DIY kitchen island that enhances both the look and the efficiency of your kitchen. Scroll down to see five favorite DIY kitchen islands.

 

1. DO A DOOR

DIY Kitchen Island - Door Top Table

Photo: urbanboyscoutfurniture.com

Here’s a DIY kitchen island with character. Because it uses an old door (discovered in a salvage yard), the project costs very little to complete, but it certainly makes a big design statement. Either cover a solid-wood paneled door with cut-to-size glass, or choose a flush door that can be sanded down to a smooth surface.

 

2. PICK PALLETS

DIY Kitchen Island - Shipping Pallet

Photo: designmag.fr

Shipping pallets are a DIYer’s best friend. Readily available, often free of cost, these plywood structures lend themselves to countless home projects, including this DIY kitchen island with rustic appeal. It takes only three pallets to make this simple table, or you can use six to create a larger piece with an equal degree of charm.

 

3. CREATE WITH CRATES

DIY Kitchen Island - Wooden Crates

Photo: evergreenfurniture.etsy.com

If your ideal DIY kitchen island offers lots of integrated storage, check out this easy option: A set of wooden crates are painted white and sanded to a patina before being screwed together. Arranged Rubik’s Cube-style, the crates form the base for a polished wood tabletop. Alternatively, top with butcher block or remnant stone.

 

4. SALVAGE A SOLUTION

DIY Kitchen Island - Reclaimed Wood

Photo: interiordesign.net

In this ambitious DIY kitchen island project, scraps of salvaged wood unite in an offbeat patchwork pattern, perfect for anyone who loves the look and history of reclaimed lumber. Add cabinet hardware—hooks, handles, or knobs—not only for the sake of functionality, but also to enhance the mix-and-match design effect.

 

5. DRESS UP A DRESSER

DIY Kitchen Island - Converted Dresser

Photo: littlecornerhouse.blogspot.com

To make this homey DIY kitchen island, start with a new or old dresser, first making sure that the furniture stands to counter height, about 36 inches. Paint the piece in a color that matches your cabinetry or otherwise coordinates with your kitchen decor, then finish the job by attaching a suitable wood or stone countertop.


Weekend Projects: 5 Stand-Out DIY Benches

A beautiful, sturdy DIY bench is a welcome addition to any foyer, mudroom, or outdoor space. Let one of these accessible designs inspire your next attempt to build one!

Consider the DIY bench and its beautiful simplicity: It celebrates the union of form and function, don’t you think? Whether indoors—perhaps in the mudroom or foyer—or out in the backyard, a DIY bench welcomes you to park your weary bones or rest your burden (shopping bags, gardening tools, and the like). Sure, you can buy a bench at a retail store or find one at your local flea market, but when you take the time to build your own, you can be sure that it meets your needs exactly.

 

1. START WITH SPINDLES

DIY Bench - Spindles

Photo: ana-white.com

To make this charming DIY bench via Ana White, start with four matching spindles. Cut your spindles to the desired height, then proceed to fasten them to a one-inch-thick wooden slab. Finish by painting the legs different colors, or choose a single hue that boldly contrasts with the finish you’ve chosen for the bench top.

 

2. HACK WITH SCRAPS

DIY Bench - Reclaimed Wood

Photo: operation-paper-cut.blogspot.com

If scrap wood has been piling up in your workshop, why not use it to build a one-of-a-kind DIY bench like this one from Operation Paper Cut. The steps involved are straightforward; note, however, that besides the requisite materials and tools, you’re going to need basic woodworking skills and an equivalent degree of patience!

 

3. DISPENSE WITH COFFEE

DIY Bench - Coffee Table Makeover

Photo: curbly.com

What do you do with a coffee table whose only redeeming quality is “good bones”? One option is to paint and upholster the piece, transforming a down-and-out eyesore into a chic and comfortable DIY bench, versatile and attractive enough to sit at the foot of your bed or in the entry hall. Visit Curbly for the full project tutorial.

 

4. PROCEED WITH PALLETS

DIY Bench - Pallet Furniture

Photo: shelterness.com

Do-it-yourselfers love to build things out of wooden shipping pallets, because they are readily available free of charge (ask around at your local nursery or hardware store). One great reason to use pallets for a bench is that they come with a ready-made storage shelf. Get the details at Jenna and Calder.

 

5. BUILD WITH BEDS

DIY Bench - Bed Frame

Photo: littlehouseinthesuburbs.com

Check out Little House in the Suburbs to see how a wooden bed frame can be transformed into a garden bench. Here, the headboard forms the back of the bench, while the footboard (cut in half) serves as the sides. Since the surface can be painted so easily, making a secondhand bed frame look like new is no problem at all.


Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Bulletin Boards to Organize Your Life

Record your appointments, note your family's schedule, and corral all your important reminders on a DIY bulletin board that will not only keep everybody on track, but also be a real treat to look at.

Every home needs a message center, and for most people, the standard office-style pin-board works fine… just fine. But you, friend—you are not most people, and in your home, fine is another way of saying, I’m bored. Lest you thought otherwise, rest assured you’re not alone. Scores of creative people have succeeded in designing a better DIY bulletin board, often with recycled or easy-to-find, low-cost materials. Scroll down to see five favorite DIY bulletin board projects now!

 

1. CORK A BOARD

DIY Bulletin Board - Wine Corks

Photo: allyou.com

To successfully make this whimsically themed DIY bulletin board, you’ll need to have saved a small vineyard’s worth of wine corks. If you seldom drink wine at home, then skip to the next idea. But if you’re a connoisseur, this is the perfect project for you: the more you drink, the larger you can make your message center.

 

2. STENCIL A STATEMENT

DIY Bulletin Board - Stenciled

Photo: brownbunnyflowers.blogspot.com

Stencils give you the steady hand you weren’t born with. They make it not only possible, but virtually effortless to create patterns of varying intricacy. In a mere matter of minutes—armed with only acrylic paint, a sponge brush, and a homemade or store-bought stencil—you can enliven a memo board with your chosen design.

 

3. PAINT A CHALKBOARD

DIY Bulletin Board - Chalkboard Paint

Photo: bumblebeeblog.com

It’s not every day you come across something that’s fun and functional. Chalkboard paint amply satisfies both of those criteria, because it enables DIYers to transform just about any surface into one that’s safe to write on. If you’ve got a lot to say, do, or remember, why not use this stuff to make a bulletin wall, not just a board?

 

4. DO AS THE FRENCH DO

DIY Bulletin Board - French

Photo: texassusannie.etsy.com

Whereas a standard pin-board might look out of place in your living room, a French-style solution can echo or even dress up your decor. To make yours, begin with a foam board. Cover it in fabric (use an old curtain or pillow, if you want), then go on to add ribbons. Finish by positioning buttons where the ribbons meet.

 

5. WIRE A WAY

DIY Bulletin Board - Chicken Wire Frame

Photo: lemonademakinmama.com

Keep your notes-to-self and cherished keepsakes from flying the coop! Chicken wire, with its hexagonal openings, works remarkably well in tandem with clothespins as an inexpensive, no-hassle DIY bulletin board. Set the wire within an old picture frame, which you can paint to coordinate with the rest of the room.


Weekend Projects: 5 Ways to Make a DIY Floor Lamp

Are you in search of a one-of-a-kind DIY floor lamp with great style that won't break the bank? Then check out these bright ideas!

When it comes to lighting, form and function are equally important. You want your fixtures to let you see what you’re doing, but you also want them to enhance your room decor. In the kitchen or bath, overhead or wall-mounted lights usually fit the bill. But in living spaces, floor lamps are often most suitable, particularly next to chairs and sofas. The trouble is that for anyone on a budget, floor lamps can be prohibitively expensive. That’s why these DIY floor lamp options are so welcome: You save money and you get exactly what you want, a custom solution that perfectly corresponds to all of your lifestyle and aesthetic preferences.

 

1. COPPER TOP

DIY Floor Lamp - Copper Top

Photo: fun.kyti.me

It’s hard to believe this gorgeous, expensive-looking DIY floor lamp cost only about $5 to make. The trick was to install a new lampshade (cardboard and metallic paper) on a sturdy metal stand (look for one at your local thrift store). For a uniform look, spray-paint in one hue or, alternatively, go for a two-tone treatment.

 

2. GLOWING GLASS

DIY Floor Lamp - Glass

Photo: rockybella.blogspot.com

Clear glass lamps are all the rage, in part because of their chameleon-like ability to look at home in virtually any setting. Unfortunately, their minimalist look often comes with a maximalist price tag. But for a fraction of the retail cost, using only basic tools and materials, you can easily build a DIY floor lamp in a similar style.

 

3. NATURAL BEACON

DIY Floor Lamp - Lantern

Photo: hgtv.com

Reclaimed wood and a vintage lantern combine in this rustic DIY floor lamp, perfect for a seaside cabin or mountain retreat. Spray-paint the wood stand or the metal lantern separately, or paint the entire assembly. Or, if you prefer, leave both elements unfinished, just as you found them. Visit HGTV for all the DIY details.

 

4. PICTURE PERFECT

DIY Floor Lamp - Tripod

Photo: dreambookdesign.com

Sometimes a flea-market purchase can become a statement piece—case in point, this tripod-turned-DIY-floor-lamp from Dream Book Design. Stain or paint the tripod to match or complement the rest of the room, then complete the job with a lamp kit (available at any hardware store), drill/driver, and some washers and nuts.

 

5. LITERARY GENIUS

DIY Floor Lamp - Repurposed Books

Photo: shelterness.com

Looking for something to place beside a comfortable reading chair? The answer might very well be a DIY floor lamp festooned with old hardcovers. There’s not much to it: You drill a hole through a stack of books and then fit them over a simple stick lamp. Check out the Live Well Network for the full step-by-step guide.


Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Ways to Make a Picture-Perfect Frame

Bored with standard-issue picture frames? With a little time and a few items that you may already have on hand, you can make your own frames that will be as personal and meaningful as the memories they hold.

It’s a fact of life: We all have more photographs, paper keepsakes, and artwork than frames in which to display them. If you’re eager to put up more wall hangings but don’t love the look (or expense) of store-bought frames, the simple solution is to make your own. Scroll down to see five favorite approaches to a DIY picture frame.

 

1. STICK IT OUT

DIY Picture Frame - Twig

Photo: angelaosborn.com.au

For those who favor rustic style, here’s a low-fuss strategy: Combine four straight (or straightish) sticks and a bit of twine, coaxing them into a rectangular shape with the help of a straight saw and small nails. The result? A twiggy DIY picture frame perfectly suited for a well-chosen print. Angela Osborn shows how it’s done.

 

2. REPURPOSE YOUR READING

DIY Picture Frame - Paper Reeds

Photo: totallygreencrafts.com

Transform a stack of old magazines into a colorful DIY picture frame that tells a whole new story! Suzy’s Sitcom explains the process: Basically, it’s a matter of rolling magazine or newspaper pages into reeds, which are then affixed, decoupage-style, to the front of basic frames you can pick up for cheap at craft stores.

 

3. OPEN A WINDOW

DIY Picture Frame - Window

Photo: wendysheafferphotos.com

Found a charming old window at your local flea market or salvage yard? Take a cue from photographer Wendy Sheaffer, who turned a six-pane sash into a DIY picture frame with each pane devoted to one of her six nieces and nephews. Either leave the window as you found it or sand and repaint it—the choice is yours!

 

4. SPIN A YARN

DIY Picture Frame - Yarn

Photo: centsationalgirl.com

In this DIY picture frame project, you can use yarn to make something beautiful—no knitting required! Start with a wood frame or foam wreath, then simply wrap your chosen base with a single color of yarn or a mix of hues. It’s a relaxing yet productive way to spend an hour. Visit Centsational Girl for a step-by-step guide.

 

5. BOOK THIS LOOK

DIY Picture Frame - Books

Photo: papernstitchblog.com

Well-read books are hard to part with. But thanks to Paper & Stitch, you don’t have to bid adieu to any of your beloved old volumes. Instead, make them into a permanent part of your decor: In only about 15 minutes, your favorite hardcover can become an out-of-the-ordinary DIY picture frame to show off a favorite photo.


Weekend Projects: Holiday Crafts for Kids

Take a break from your hectic holiday schedule to do a few crafts with your kids. With a little time and a minimal number of supplies, you can create an inexpensive, one-of-a-kind decoration—and priceless memories.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s: It can be a real challenge to avoid stress this time of year! If you need a reprieve this weekend, sit down with your family to do some holiday crafts for kids. These ideas are easy and fun, and best of all, each one leaves you with a memento to cherish in 2014 and beyond.

 

1. PAINT PINECONES

Holiday Crafts for Kids - Paint Pine Cones

Photo: factorydirectcraft.com

The best holiday crafts for kids involve just a few materials and a minimum of steps. Right? Right. This one meets both essential criteria, plus it gives you a reason to head outdoors. Having foraged (and found) a cache of pinecones, hand-dip each one in paint. Use one color or a dozen of your children’s favorites.

 

2. HAND-MAKE SNOWMEN

Holiday Crafts for Kids - Thumbprint Snowman

Photo: linesacross.com

From Lines Across, these adorable snowmen are the product of polymer clay and little hands’  little thumbprints. Once the figures have been fully formed and accessorized to your satisfaction, bake them in the oven to harden. Use your snowmen as tree ornaments, decorative pieces for your holiday mantel, or surprise stocking stuffers for Dad.

 

3. STRING CANDY CANES

Holiday Crafts for Kids - Cereal Ornaments

Photo: sewmanyways.blogspot.com

The wise parent knows that holiday crafts for kids succeed most reliably when at least one of the project materials can be eaten. Fruit Loop Candy Canes are a creative twist on a holiday classic—the popcorn garland. To make your own, simply string pipe cleaners (from the craft store) with colorful cereal (from your pantry).

 

4. ORIGINATE ORNAMENTS

Holiday Crafts for Kids - Melted Crayon Ornaments

Photo: blog.michaels.com

What’s not to like about a holiday craft for kids that not only provides entertainment but also clears clutter? Place crayon nubs—the ones that are too small to draw with, too beloved to trash—into clear glass tree ornaments. Then use a hair dryer to melt the crayons through the glass. The result? One-of-a-kind swirled designs.

 

5. SET WINTRY SCENES

Holiday Crafts for Kids - DIY Snow Globe

Photo: ggpht.com

It’s not complicated to make a snow globe, but because the project requires a bit of patience, it’s best reserved for fourth and fifth graders. Start with a jar from your recycling bin. Adhere your snowscape to the lid, then fill the container with a mixture of glycerin, distilled water, and glitter. The effect is nothing short of magical!


Weekend Project: 5 Ways to Create Ice Luminaries

If you're in the "deep freeze" of winter, consider taking advantage of the frigid temperatures by creating some decorative outdoor lighting. Here are 5 ice luminary how-tos to help you capture some winter light of your own.

Ice luminaries date back to the olden days, when if you wanted to illuminate winter darkness, you needed to use a little ingenuity. Today, lighting the outdoors isn’t a challenge at any time of year. But particularly around the holidays, you can rely on ice luminaries to cast a beautiful, natural glow over driveways, walkways, and any type of outdoor living area, be it a deck, patio, or porch.

Creating your own ice luminary couldn’t be simpler: All you have to do is freeze water and add in a few embellishments. If you live in a climate that sees below-freezing temperatures in winter, you can make ice luminaries outdoors. In other parts of the country, resort to the freezer; it works equally well. Scroll down to see five of our favorite DIY ways to make these sculptural yet functional accents.

 

1. BOOK A BRIGHT PASSAGE 

Ice Luminaries - Citrus

Photo: creativehomestyle.com

No matter how low the temperature goes, a warm welcome awaits anyone who arrives along a path lined with these rustic ice luminaries. Over at Creative Homestyle, you can learn how to combine water, plastic buckets, evergreen branches and citrus fruit slices into something far greater than the sum of its parts.

 

2. SPIN A GLOWING GLOBE

Ice Luminaries - Globe

Photo: gardeners.com

Even though you can buy a kit to assist you in making ice luminaries just like this one, it’s more affordable and equally easy to follow the simple steps detailed by Nerdy With Children. Balloons (of all things) are the key to forming perfectly round and silky smooth ice globes, beneath which sit battery-operated tea lights.

 

3. ENJOY A FROZEN TART

Ice Luminaries - Brioche Mold

Photo: shivayanaturals.com

Shivaya Naturals shares how a brioche mold may be used for ice luminaries with a unique, centerpiece-worthy shape. If you like the concept of “cooking” with ice, you can get similar results with a bundt pan. Both types of cookware feature a hole in the center that leaves enough room for a candle to be inset post-freezing.

 

4. TIE-DYE A LANTERN

Ice Luminaries - Tie Dye

Photo: instructables.com

As the water freezes in whatever you are using as a mold—a balloon, baking pan, plastic bucket or otherwise—you can add in a few drops of food coloring for a less neutral and more festive effect. Stick with one color or freeze the water in layers, using a different for each. Visit Craftiments to check out the (easy) tutorial.

 

5. AND SOMETHING FOR WIlDLIFE

Ice Luminaries - Wreath

Photo: teagirlworld.blogspot.com

Well, technically it’s an ice wreath and not a luminary, but we couldn’t resist this cranberry-studded variation on the theme. Tea Girl in a Coffee World explains how to create one easily. Hang yours from a tree branch to provide sustenance for wildlife, or if it’s cold enough outside, try it for size on the front door!