Friday, August 19, 2011


So I'm a big fan of Pinterest.  If you're not familiar, it's a website and service that allows you to "pin" any image that you find online to one of your virtual boards.  So, for example, you can click on all the clothes you want to buy from Anthropologie and J.Crew and create a fashion pin board.  Or you can click on photos you love on home decorating blogs and create a living room inspiration pin board.  You get the idea.

(If you're not on Pinterest, I think maybe they've opened it so anyone can sign up.  If you click over and need an invitation, let me know and I'll send you one.)

The best part about Pinterest is that you can see what other people are pinning, and then re-pin it to your boards.  (And then other people pin what you've pinned and you feel personally validated.  Or maybe that's just me...)

So I've been scoping out a lot of Pinterest projects to keep me busy.  And here's what I've come up with:

Project 1

First, I came across this inspiration:

picture & tutorial from The Cottage Home

And I decided to make my own tile coasters.  But I wanted to switch things up a little bit.  So I used scrapbook paper just like the tutorial says, but then I dragged out our old-school typewriter and typed up some quotations to personalize the coaster and give them as gifts.  A couple of my friends got song lyrics that make me think of them--everything from Dave Matthews to Tim McGraw to Beyonce.  A friend of mine who TAed with me one semester got a set of coasters with a quote from each of the novels we taught, including:  "This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve" (Name that novel!  It's one of my favorites.)  I was so happy with the way the coasters turned out, I even made a set for our house, with lyrics from some of our favorite country songs--"Hey ramblin' boy, why don't you settle down?  Boston ain't your kind of town.  There ain't no gold and there ain't nobody like me."  They are more subtle than the ones above (which I love for the pops of color).  But these match my new living room hues, and I have to say I think they're pretty freaking cute.

From top left they're from "Total Eclipse of the Heart,"

And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you'll only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
'Cause we'll never go wrong together

and George Strait's "The Chair,"

I like this song, too, it reminds me of you and me, baby, do you think there's a chance?

Ann Murray's "Danny's Song"

Even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you, honey
and then "Please Come to Boston"

Hey ramblin' boy, 
why don't you settle down?
Boston ain't your kind of town
There ain't no gold
And there ain't nobody like me 

I love any version of this song, but I heard Kenny Chesney cover it at a small-ish indoor concert when I was in college and I really loved it then.  All these songs make me happy and make me think of David and various stages in our relationship.  So they make a happy addition to our living room.

Project 2
Also, I saw this tutorial, and decided that I could do something with all of the wine corks that I've been collected over the past few weeks months years:

tutorial available at The ReUser's Guide to Green Living
 "D" isn't exactly the cutest letter (I dunno, I think W and E and C and F are all cuter...).  But I bought a brown letter D shape at The Lobby and I came up with this:

It took a shitload of wine corks, but I liked the idea of reuisng/upcycling them.  And the D looks pretty cute hanging on our dining room wall.

Project 3

When we repainted the bedroom, we took down all the frames that we had up on the wall and I decided that I wanted a fresh start.  We'd had heavy black frames up in there, and although I'm a big fan of a solid black frame, I wanted something lighter in our room.  So when I saw this project on Pinterest:

Here's the tutorial at The Steen Style
I decided to do our wedding song.  There are now lots of songs that have special meaning for David and me (hence the coasters) but the first song we danced to at our wedding was "Can I Have This Dance?" by Ann Murray.  It's quite possibly the cheesiest song in the entire history of the world, but we chose it because it was the second song we ever danced to (after George Strait's "The Chair") and we danced to it at Echo's (a bar in Nevada that has since burned down) so it had some sentimental value.  Also we chose it because we took ballroom dancing lessons before we got married and wanted to find a waltz.  Even though we had completely forgotten how to waltz by the time the reception rolled around.  One, two, three.  One, two, three.  Ok, let's just stand here and sway like normal people.

So, I made a trip to Hobby Lobby, picked up a canvas (30% off!) and a white paint marker.  We still had leftover sample paint from trying to decide on a bedroom wall color, so I just grabbed one of those jars of Behr flat paint, and coated the canvas in a soft gray color (actually paint color was Road Runner by Behr).  I typed up the lyrics in a word document so I wouldn't forget them, and fixed the margins and whatnot so I could count how many lines they took up (18) and space my letters accordingly (each line 1.5 inches).  The next morning, I used a pencil to make a small mark on each line, and a yardstick to help me write straight.  And I free-handed the lyrics onto the canvas.

I ended up with this:

 It's s obviously not perfect--I don't know what happened with the spacing there.  Why did I start moving in from the left hand margin and smushing the words on the right?  Gah!  Why couldn't I catch that right away?  Why is the thickness of the paint inconsistent?  Why is my handwriting wonky?  But I'm telling myself that it's precisely the imperfections make it ours.  After all, it's not like our marriage is perfect.  And what it lacks in perfection it makes up for in longevity.  As for the canvas, I don't know that it's something that will hang out on our wall forever, but for $13, it makes a nice little personalized wall art I see everyday when I walk toward the closet.  When David saw it, made a big deal about how great he thought it was and even though he was probably just being nice (the way he admires a second-grader's artwork, for example), I decided to believe he likes it. 

Plus you've got to admit, the lyrics are super sweet:  I'll always remember that magic moment, when I held you close to me cause we moved together, I knew forever you're all I'll ever need. 

Almost makes me miss the dance floor at Echo's.  Almost.

Project 4
While I was in the mode of making wall-art, I decided to do another little wall hanging to put in our hallway, where I plan to re-do our little gallery of frames.  So I opened a Word file, re-sized it to 5x7, made 1" margins all around, set the font on Courier, right and left justified the margins, and typed up a bunch of words that have special meaning for David and me--things we love, places we've traveled, and lots of inside jokes.  I moved some stuff around to make things line up a little differently, and then printed it on cardstock and framed it.

It's not exactly fine art, but it makes me smile every time I look at it.  Lots of my favorite things and favorite memories listed all on one page.

So there ya go.  Just a few projects that I've been using to keep myself busy.  Funny how my syllabi still aren't finalized and yet I've got this crafty stuff all over the place...   So What about you?  Are you pinning?  Do you want to be Pinterest besties?  Here you can view my (now defunct) obsession with starburst mirrors:  bythebrooke on Pinterest.

My next project:  Teach myself to use Photoshop.  Can anybody recommend a good online tutorial?


  1. Words fail me when I try to explain how much I love Pinterest! I can get lost for hours pinning away. To be fair, I have found many great ideas for school there so it is not a complete time suck!

    I really like your crafty diversions...I made three silver bead bracelets yesterday that are like ones I found on Pinterest while procrastinating when I should have been writing lesson plans.

  2. Wow you have been crazy busy! I love it all!I'm really bad about starting a project and not finishing it, so I'm in awe of all this!

  3. I love all of these!! You're so creative, I wouldn't know where to begin.
    J refused to take ballroom dancing lessons, we danced our first dance, and I quote; "Eigth grade style". :))

  4. Also didn't take dance lessons-- 8th graders here, too. ;)

    I love all your craftiness. I have about none of that in my blood, but can recognize something nice when I see it. That last project is definitely my favorite and probably the easiest to do. How funny, huh?

    Syllabi, bah. There's always Monday. At least that's what I'll be doing on Monday.

  5. love it all - I've seen similar coaster ideas that use pictures - I want to try that some time. It's on my ever-long, never-ending craft list which includes things like 1. sew cute things. 2. learn to sew. 3. learn photoshop like you said 4. learn how to use my dslr camera for what it's intended so I can better apply #3. . . . .and so on . . .

  6. Love your craftiness!! My girlfriend had "Could I Have This Dance" as the first song at her wedding too. She sang beautifully and her dad played saxophone, so they made a recording of her singing & him playing, and she & her new husband danced to that.

    I also love Danny's Song -- although it makes me sad, post-Katie, since it's all about pregnancy. And I LOVE Please Come to Boston!

  7. I haven't been on Pinterest yet...I love all your projects. They are personal and that makes them extra special. I am always worried about buying art and these are great ideas. I have been eying this on etsy:

    but we are not very religious and I think its a bit much for me.
    First dance lyrics are awesome. I will have to look mine up. It was 12 yrs ago and I am embarassed to say I heard the song on Dawson's Creek:)

  8. I Pin, therefore, I am. I LOVE Pinterest! I will follow you for sure. I have sooo many crafty ideas on there, that I think will have to wait for the fall perhaps.
    Good job, Brookester, on these crafty ideas. You are a rockstar!!

  9. i love that you are creating such beautiful things. so inspiring :) i ordered some cross stitch stuff so i am going to try to get back into that.
    all of your crafts are so pretty and sweet. i love them.

  10. Awesome DIY. What else can we do in these early days but make stuff? :) That's how I feel some days anyway.

  11. love all those projects, especially the last one! Definitely going to look into Pinterest now.

  12. Damn. Now im going to have to check pinterest out. Was hoping to avoid it but everyone keeps posting about it!!!

    Love the last one especially... would be cool to do one each year.

    Total eclipse was my song w high school boyfriend. Gotta love it

  13. Look at you go! :)

    I want to learn Photoshop too. Perhaps I should take a class so I can have something to occupy my mind once again...