Thrifty, DIY spring wreath

Although the weather in Pennsylvania hasn’t gotten the message yet, spring has officially sprung! And that means I get to try my hand, once again, at not completely ruining a spring wreath project. (I have a graveyard of “wreaths gone wrong” stored in my basement as proof of my crafting struggles.)

Fortunately, despite gluing my fingers together (I still have adhesive and bits of moss stuck to my fingers as I type this), I consider the spring wreath I made today door-worthy, so I thought I’d share the details of the project with you.

Spring-wreath-2

I spent less than $15 putting this wreath together and about one hour total, using materials I picked up at the Dollar Tree and Walmart.

Materials

I got the floral sprigs and bubble gum eggs at the Dollar Tree. The Spanish moss, letter “P” and burlap ribbon (not pictured) came from Walmart. As far as the wreath itself, I resurrected an old grapevine one from the basement, so no money spent there.

I started by gluing the Spanish moss to the “P” using spray adhesive.

Faux-Spanish-mossI finally got a clue after making a mess and pulled out a piece of parchment paper to apply the moss and shape it to the letter. The parchment paper doesn’t stick to the adhesive and greenery like your, ahem, hands do.

Parchment-paper-trick

I stuck the “P” in the wreath, reinforcing it with hot glue.

Wood-letter-covered-in-moss

Next, I wove the floral sprigs into the wreath. I trimmed a few of the pieces shorter with a wire cutter, which helped fill in the gaps and create a fuller look.

Flowers-in-wreath

Then I took a few bubble gum eggs, positioned them inside the “P,” and adhered them with hot glue.

Bubblegum-robin-eggs

Finally, I added some burlap ribbon as a final touch. Done!

Spring-wreath

Spring-wreath-2

Have you done any spring decorating yet?

Video: Easy projects for beginner DIYers

Here in Pennsylvania, winter is reluctant to let us out of its clutches. We woke up to more snow today! Despite the weather, I’ve been infected with a serious case of spring DIY fever and am officially in project mode. This past weekend, I finished up two easy projects I wanted to share with you today, particularly because they are perfect for beginner DIYers.

The first project is a driftwood candle holder and the second is a cabinet-mounted, magnetic knife block.

DIY-driftwood-candleholder

Magnetic-knife-block

For complete details on how to do both projects, check out the short video tutorial below:

To help you prepare, below are the lists of materials I used for the projects.

Driftwood candle holder

DIY-driftwood-candleholder3

For this project, you’ll need the following supplies:

  • 1 small stump or log piece (clean, dry and able to sit flat on a tabletop)
  • Power drill
  • 2-inch Forstner drill bit
  • Wood stain (I chose a combination of Rust-Oleum® Driftwood and Willow stains, available at Lowe’s.)
  • Polyurethane (I chose the Rust-Oleum poly in a satin finish.)
  • Votive holders (Mine measure 1 1/2″ in diameter at the base.)
  • Votive candles

Cabinet-mounted magnetic knife block

Magnetic-knife-holder

For this project, you’ll need the following supplies (available at Lowe’s):

  • 1 1″x2″x8′ section of lumber (I chose poplar and used a miter saw to cut it.)
  • Pre-glued, iron-on wood veneer edging (I chose poplar, to match my lumber. You’ll also need an iron to apply it.)
  • Block magnets
  • Wood stain (I chose Rust-Oleum Traditional Cherry and Kona stains.)
  • High-strength, clear epoxy adhesive
  • Mineral oil
  • Command™ strips or mounting hardware

QUICK TIP: If you have worn-out kitchen knives that need discarded, it’s important to use a safe method of disposal. First, check with your local metals recycling depot to see if they accept knives. If not, wrap the knives in bubble wrap, cardboard or layers of newspaper. Then use a generous amount of tape to secure the packing materials and dispose of the knives in a plastic or metal trash bin.

Have you caught the spring DIY fever yet? What projects do you have in the works?

3 ways to find clarity amid life’s chaos

First of all, let me offer a big “Helloooooooooo!” I am finally back home after eight long weeks of military training and I am so excited to reconnect with all of you and return to DIYing and blogging.

AMS graduation

Can you spot me in this picture? (Courtesy photo)

Stepping away from regular life for such an extended period of time has given me the rare opportunity to gain perspective about what really matters and what my priorities should be.

Today, I thought I’d share with you three ways I’ve found clarity through my experience and how I’m trying (yes, this is a lesson I re-learn every day) to make choices that will give me more peace and joy despite the struggles that come with a jam-packed life.

1. Embrace your insignificance. I confess that, as a wife and mom, I often have this notion that the whole world rests on my shoulders. It is my daily duty to feed and care for, clean up after, make happy, and instruct and correct all members of my family (spouse included). I guess I believe that, without me, nothing would get done … or get done right anyway. Admittedly, operating from the premise that all decisions should begin and end with me is an incredibly narcissistic – and anxious – way to live. And it can be really annoying for those who live with me. Being away for two months taught me that the show goes on without me around. People get fed, clothed and to school and work on time. Despite my fears, no apocalyptic-level crisis was triggered in my absence. ;)

Although this may seem like a depressing revelation, it’s actually very freeing because it reminds me that my family loves me and wants me around not for what I can do for them, but for who I am. And it’s OK to let go of my annoying perfectionism and let people do things their way. I really can depend on others to take care of important things. And I.can.delegate. I have smart and capable people all around me who will rise to the occasion. Who am I kidding? I never had the time or energy to do it all myself anyway.

2. Say yes to only the best. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve read in a self-help article that we need to learn to say “no,” I’d be a wealthy woman. I realize this phrase has become cliché. And I think we all understand there’s simply not enough time in the day to say “yes” to everything. The real problem is that we aren’t clear about how often we need to say “no.” In other words, we’re still saying “yes” to more than we can comfortably handle.

So the growth and change is not in learning to say “no.” Rather, it is in understanding what is really possible to accomplish well in any given day, week, month or year. The word “well” is the key. To gain clarity on what to say “yes” to, consider asking yourself the following questions:

  • What can I take on today that I can do well?
  • What can I devote the proper attention to and do thoroughly, using my best efforts?
  • If I say “yes” to this, will I feel good about the finished product?
  • Can I take this on without sacrificing my health or well-being?

This is one of the biggest struggles I deal with every.single.day. I have so many wonderful things I want to do. Awesome … noble … fun things. But the truth is, I can only devote 100 percent of myself to a few tasks. This year, my goal is to give 100 percent to my most important priorities and fuggetabout the rest.

3. Get comfortable with pain. Here’s a sobering truth: Growth and positive change in life rarely, if ever, happen without pain attached.

We all have goals and dreams we want to accomplish. Many of us even have detailed plans laid out for how to meet those objectives. Many times, however, we get derailed from our plans to improve our health, work, relationships, etc. because we haven’t come to terms with the fact that getting where we want to go will require ongoing discomfort.

Climbing-wallMe climbing a rock wall during training (Courtesy photo)

Simply put, if you’re not experiencing some discomfort or pain, you’re probably not growing. “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” as the old Marine recruiting slogan goes. We must push through discomfort to reach our potential in life; it’s the only way to get there.

The beauty is that what begins as discomfort or fear quickly evolves into strength, accomplishment and fuel for the journey.

Do you have any secrets for gaining clarity amid life’s chaos? I’d love for you to leave a comment and share the tips you’ve learned along the way.