Wrapping Presents

Once you finish all that exhausting Christmas shopping, the fun part begins: wrapping presents!  Grab a glass bottle of wine and try one or all of these six DIY gift wrapping ideas to spruce up your holiday gifts, show off your craftiness, and minimize your cost of purchasing rolls and rolls of store-bought paper by re-purposing items around your house!

Attach holiday berries, pine cones, holly, or twigs to re-purpose brown paper bags or store-bought craft paper into beautifully dressed wrapping paper

KraftWrappingDecorate boxes with ribbon and small figurines

RoundBoxesCreate sweet holiday gift tags from leftover red and green candies

CandyGiftTagsCozy up your presents with those old wool sweaters

SweaterGiftStamp on your favorite design in any pattern

StampedLeftover yarn or string?  Turn it into a design and use in lieu of ribbon

Yarnedimages via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Zip It, Zip It Good

Hey everyone, Megan asked me to do a little guest post here at the Thread Affect and I couldn’t be more honored. I’m Lisha from One House One Couple, and my husband and I are documenting our house flip on our blog. You can swing by any time to take a look. You are always welcome at our “house”.

Today I wanted to give you a little sneak peak into my little life.

I ride my bike a lot, whether it be for fun, or to go to the store or whatever. Well, I realized I didn’t have anything to carry a key and some money in while I rode my bike, and I don’t like to lug my whole purse. Also, I was constantly worried my house key would fall out of my pocket while pedaling, and sometimes I wouldn’t even have a pocket to put it in! So I finally got around to making myself a little zipper pouch for that exact purpose.

I knew I wanted the inside and outside to be different fabrics. I actually went shopping at my friend’s “fabric store”. She buys fabric all the time and is always making stuff, so she has a ton of leftover fabric remnants from things she’s already made. I’m not super crafty, and this was the first time I ever made a zipper pouch (or anything with a zipper for that matter) so I didn’t know how it was going to turn out. So it was nice to just “borrow” some of her leftover fabric pieces instead of buying a whole piece, especially since this project is really small.

Here are the fabric selections I chose:

A fun vibrant orange pattern with hints of blues, and yellows, and then a plain bright green color for the other side.

First I decided about how big I wanted the pouch to be. I figured I would want to be able to fit my phone (which is smaller than an iPhone), some money, and a key inside it.

I cut 4 rectangles a half inch longer on each side than the size I wanted the finished product to be.

Then I sewed the pieces together, along with the zipper. (I forgot to take pics of the process, lame me). I ended up with the wrong color on the outside, lol! I wanted the colorful fabric on the outside, and the plain green on the outside, but I sewed the zipper the opposite way, so I ended up with it this way:

Take a look at the inside:

Overall, I was happy with what I ended up with. Not too shabby for not knowing how to deal with a zipper.

In the end, I decided to tie a piece of twine to the zipper and slide it around my wrist when I go for a bike ride. It works really well as a coin pouch too!

Let me know what you think about my first zipper pouch and leave a comment below :)

Thanks Megan for allowing me to do a guest post here at the Thread Affect!

DIY Chalkboard Platter

Since I am unfortunately unable to create the ultra coveted chalkboard wall in my rental apartment, I settled for this much smaller DIY chalkboard platter inspired by Wit & Whistle and perfect for multiple entertaining purposes (think cheese and cookies!).

First a quick note about this particular porcelain paint I used through the recommendation of Wit & Whistle: the company states they do not recommend using this specific paint for surfaces that come in contact with food. However, it is water based, non-toxic, and Dick Blick suggests using it to paint a dinner plate so I don’t see the harm in simply placing cookies or cheese on it but just wanted to divulge all the important information. :)

Materials Needed:

porcelain platter (mine is from CB2, find it here)
Pebeo Porcelaine chalkboard paint (from Amazon or in 10 different colors at Dick Blick)
painter’s tape
soft bristle paintbrush
kitchen oven

Steps to Take:

1. Make sure your platter is completely clean and dry.  If desired, use painter’s tape to mask off the edges of the platter for clean, crisp lines, otherwise skip this step and freehand it.

2. Using a soft bristle brush, apply the paint in thin, even horizontal strokes. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second coat.  Immediately remove the painter’s tape carefully before the paint from the second coat dries to ensure the edges don’t peel up when removing.  Let the second coat dry for 24 hours.

3. When the paint has dried for a full 24 hours, bake your platter following the instructions printed on the back of the paint bottle. If using the Pebeo Porcelaine Chalkboard Paint, preheat the oven to 300 degrees, bake 35 minutes, turn off the oven, leave the platter inside, and allow to cool to room temperature before removing.  After baking, the platter will be dishwasher and microwavable safe!

Have you ever chalked something? I would love to see all your chalkboard paint projects! Upload a picture or link to my Facebook Page to share!

Pinspiration from Wit & Whistle

Pinspiration: DIY Hex Nut Bracelet

Watches have easily become my daily go-to wrist accessory but when I saw this DIY Braided Hex Nut Bracelet (here) from Honestly..WTF I thought it would be the perfect trendy, masculine/rough addition to my sometimes boring wrist candy.

Materials You Need:  3 Strands Butcher’s Twine cut into 1 yard pieces and 18 Hex Nuts, you may need more or less depending on your wrist size!

Gather the three strands of butcher twine and tie into a knot leaving about two inches of slack for tying the bracelet onto your wrist.  Braid normally for about an inch.  Before you cross the far left strand over to the middle, thread on a hex nut tightly to the top of the thread, and crossover.  Keep the hex nut tight by placing your thumb at the base.  Before crossing over the far right strand, thread on a hex nut, push it to the base of the braid, and crossover.  Thread another hex nut onto the far left strand and crossover.  Repeat these steps by threading a hex nut onto each outer strand before crossing it to the middle (thread, cross, thread, cross).  This definitely takes some patience and all your fingers working together, believe me it will look normal as you thread additional hex nuts!  Finish off the bracelet with another inch of braid, tie into a knot, trim to your liking, and layer it with all your bracelets and watches to create a fun eye-catching wrist party!


Chalk It Up

Chalkboards aren’t just for teachers educating little ones anymore but instead are being utilized for all aspects of life.  As seen below, people are using chalkboard paint for entire walls of rooms, for displaying recipes, inspiring words, calendars, and signs, for hosting purposes including seating arrangements, weddings, or writing names on glasses, for labeling plants or spices in gardens, for organization, and for kids to show off their artistic talents.   Chalkboard paint has become easily accessible whether you purchase it from Home Depot or whip up a batch of your own in your favorite color (recipe found here).  Have you ever used chalkboard paint to make your life a little more exciting or more manageable?  If so, how and where?  I’m looking for a new, easy DIY project that incorporates chalkboard paint since I’m incredibly jealous of Cece’s new chalkboard kitchen (see below) and would love suggestions!

Images via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Seeing multiple images of chalkboards and chalkboard walls displayed in kitchens, my friend Cece was inspired to give it a try in her new Chicago apartment and graciously asked me to tag along.  After taping off all the doorways, lights, and outlets, we applied the first coat of Rust-oleum Specialty Chalkboard Latex Black Paint to her clean kitchen walls, allowed it to dry four hours, and repeated with a second coat.  My favorite part is that the doorways along the wall basically create two separate chalkboards: one large one for anything at all (notes, inspiring words, etc) and a smaller one perfect for grocery lists, recipes, or weekly menus.  Seriously, how cute?  Jealous? I know I am!

The Before:

The During:

The After:

DIY Travel Map

In an effort to combine our love of maps and traveling, we created this travel pin map to display our individual adventures, explorations together as a couple, and places we have lived.  We are looking forward to placing some new pins in our map in the upcoming months!


cork board (here)
utility knife
straight edge
3/16 thick wood
large map (here)
tacky glue
spray glue adhesive
command picture hanging strips
pins or tacks (here)


Step 1:  Using a utility knife, cut your cork-board to the exact size of your map.  Our sheet of cork-board (bought here) was 4 feet long by 2 feet wide whereas our map was exactly 3 feet long by 2 feet wide.  To add stability and transportability to our map, we had Home Depot cut a 3/16 temp hardboard handypanel (wood panel) to the size of our map, which we used as our straight edge to cut the cork-board to map size.  After cutting the cork-board, we placed heavy items on all four corners and the middle to help the cork-board lie flat overnight.

Step 2:  Apply tacky glue to the backside of the wood panel (rough side) and carefully align the cork-board on top.  Roll out any bubbles with a rolling-pin and allow to dry overnight.

Step 3:  Spray the cork-board with spray glue adhesive, let sit 10-20 seconds until tacky, and carefully adhere the map remembering to roll out any bubbles or bumps.  On the back of the wood panel (smooth side) attach Command Picture Hangers in all corners and middle, follow directions on Command packaging.  Hang map on wall.   We used nine Command Medium Picture Hangers for extra support and hung our map above our computer in the office/second bedroom.

Step 4:  Pin all your amazing adventures!  We chose to use four different colors of 1/8 inch map tacks (from here): green for my personal travels, blue for Justin’s individual travels, orange for adventures we have experienced together, and yellow for places we have lived.  We didn’t pin every specific trip, for example Italy got one pin even though we visited Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence, Sienna, and Rome.  We are excited to keep traveling to all ends of the world.

Pinspiration: PomPoms

PomPoms are EVERYWHERE right now in party planning and home decor:

Inspired by all the gorgeous PomPoms out there, I decided to order three large, three medium, and four small poms for the bridal shower from Sevyn Designs on Etsy in yellow, blue, and green.  Coral and Hailee from Sevyn Designs were amazing.  Not only did they respond quickly to every single one of my questions and have the PomPoms to me in plenty of time, but they also included step-by-step instructions and a sweet handwritten thank you note.  Rare to receive such great service!  The incredibly easy assembly and hanging of the poms would definitely lead me to utilize these trendy decorations again in the future.  Want to try some for yourself or your next party?  Check out Sevyn Designs on Etsy and put in promotion code thread10 to receive 10% off your order through the end of April! Awesome, right?!


Step-by-Step Instructions:

Step 1: Lay PomPom out in front of you.  Cut string to desired length and double knot onto the metal loop.

Step 2:  Fan the PomPom out on both sides.

Step 3:  Starting with one side of the PomPom, gently pull each layer away from the center.  Repeat five times on each side then rotate.

Step 4:  Use your fingers to fluff petals and create even spacing between layers until your PomPom is petal perfect.

Step 5:  Hang PomPoms at varying heights wherever you would like (above tables or cribs, in windows, centerpieces, in bedrooms, etc).

Bridal Shower Games

Attempting to eliminate the completion of embarrassing tasks and the requirement to know everything about the bride/groom, I chose two classic games with a bridal twist: Bridal Shower Scattergories, in which guests brainstorm creative answers to ten questions concerning a wedding, and Bridal Bingo, where prior to opening presents guests fill out a Bingo board with gifts they think the bride may receive.  In order to provide each guest a solid surface to write on without having to pass out all my favorite magazines, I simply attached each Scattergories game with double sided tape to white foam board, cut it to size using a utility knife, placed the Bridal Bingo game on top, attached a pencil through a white ribbon bow, and placed them all in a basket for easy distribution!  What games do you love and/or hate to play at bridal showers? 

Step 1:  Using double-sided tape, attach each Scattergories game board to white foam board.

Step 2:  Using a utility knife and a straight edge, cut each game board to size.

Step 3:  Place the BINGO game on top and attach with a white ribbon making sure to tie in a pencil as well!

Step 4:  Place all games in a basket or crate to make distribution of the games easier!

Photo Montage

Since day one of moving in we I have fantasized about creating a photo wall displaying all our favorite pictures from recent trips and memories.  After weeks of selecting photos, printing, cutting, framing, taping, and hanging, our final photo wall is complete and I’m in complete LOVE.  I can’t wait to change out photos for new ones from future trips or even add in some pictures that represent specific holidays or seasons.  Here’s how we conquered our photo collage wall:

First, select your frames making sure to vary the sizes and orientation (horizontal/vertical).  Choose and print your chosen pictures in their appropriate size.  We decided to only include pictures that showcased landscapes, quotes, and our smiling faces in the hopes of eliminating any awkwardness in the future of not having that one lonely person in the group unrepresented on the wall.

Second, using recycled paper cut out the shape of each individual frame.  These individual sheets of paper that you will tape to the wall represent each of your individual pictures that you will eventually nail and hang to the wall.  Using the paper as a spot holder allows you to easily move frames around without adding unnecessary holes to your wall and allowing for you to visually see your layout more easily without awkwardly holding up multiple frames while someone else looks at them.

Third, determine the space and layout.  Instead of drawing out a predetermined layout, we decided to simply find the center spot of the wall facing our kitchen and tape up an 11×14 piece of paper at eye level that would symbolize our starting point in which we would work outwards from.  After the initial picture in the center, we simply began hanging papers around it making sure to vary the size of photos next to one another as well as keeping in mind the colors and materials of each picture placed.  (i.e we didn’t want all the pictures of us smiling at the camera on one side of the wall or all the bright colorful photos in one section so we tried to mix them in together)

Fourth, start hanging your frames.  Once again we began with the center photo and worked out in an attempt to minimize accidentally pushing the whole collage of photos too far left or right or up or down.  To hang our frames, we measured the location of the hook on the back of the actual frame (from the side edge and top edge) and then wrote those measurements on the piece of paper.  Once we had the cross point, we nailed directly into the paper on the wall, removed the paper, and hung the frame.

Fifth, fill in any missing gaps.  We ended up needing more pictures than anticipated so our wall stayed like the above picture for an embarrassingly long period of time as we attempted to make decisions on the remaining photos (hardest part of the whole project was choosing pictures).  Finally we had the finished wall!

{Left to Right, Top to Bottom:  Chicago Art (here), Times Square, Man on the Balcony in Cinque Terre, Multnomah Falls in Oregon (here), Picnic in Seattle, Flowers from Venice, Us at a wedding (here), Our Pups, One of my favorite quotes (here)}

{Multnomah Falls in Oregon (here), J+M carved in the tree, Sleeping at the Airport in Rome, LOVE from our trip to NYC (here), One of my favorite quotes (here), Set of 3 pictures from a hiking trip to the Manitou Islands, flowers in Cinque Terre, Life quote (here), Playing cards in Saint Mark’s Square}

{My first picture holding Maddie, quote (here), playing cards in Saint Mark’s Square, under a bridge in Central Park, locks from Florence, Venice, and Cinque Terre, our Tom’s overlooking the ocean in Italy}

{Flowers from Venice, Us at a wedding (here), Our Pups, One of my favorite quotes (here), Gum Wall in Seattle at Pike’s Place, Overlooking the ocean in Seattle, My first picture holding Maddie, Our 5th grade yearbook pictures from Hoover Elementary}

What do you think?  Did we succeed in creating a balanced photo collage?  What steps do you take when you create a photo wall?  Thanks for stopping by! :)

On the Ledge

Cluttered with camera cords, pictures, a dry erase board, lamp, papers, and random knickknacks, the desk in our office space was no longer a place to calmly collect our thoughts.  Hanging a three-foot long picture ledge from West Elm (here) slightly lower than the top of the computer screen allotted a new space to display our turquoise fish and my framed second grade drawing of the city, gifted to me by my parents this past Christmas, without occupying valuable desktop space.  Placing a simple storage cube (here) upside down underneath the desk provided a new sturdy home for our printer freeing up additional space above without being inaccessible.


West Elm Wall Shelf {West Elm Picture Ledge}

Tip for clean up{Tape a plastic bag underneath the hole you are drilling to minimize your clean up}

Office Space To Do:

Remove the printer from on top of the desk
–  Add a picture ledge
–  Add another picture to the wall shelf
–  Add artwork around the computer
–  Update the lamp
–  Add boxes/tray/storage to hold office necessities (post-its, pens, mags, etc)
–  Trash the Fifth Third Bank mouse pad for something more colorful
–  Dye or stencil the computer chair cover
–  Add some height and dimension to the desk
–  Add at least one live plant