Sunday, August 19, 2012

Too early for fall decor?

Well, blogger world, here is my first legit attempt at a blog that someone else could actually care about! Yay!  So as anyone who follows me on Pinterest knows, I am obsessed with Fall Decor right now!

Before summer break I decided I wanted a "craft room."  My room certainly doesn't come close to what you will find online, BUT my formal dining is much more useful when it is full of craft supplies!!  Somewhere along the line I decided this supposed craft room of mine would be leaf-themed.  I guess I just like foliage.  So upon completion of the first decorative item for my now useful space, I was hooked on leaves, which of course made me long for fall.

Fall is by far my favorite season, partly because it encompasses my favorite holiday: HALLOWEEN!!! Because my husband has taught me how to be thrifty, this year I don't have to feel guilty for wanting and actually fulfilling my desire to ready my home for this fabulous season!!  With a little help from Pinterest, the amazing bloggers out there who share their talents, and a little bit of my own creativity, I decided to conquer a couple projects before I start back 2 days :(

Project One

Jason and I love to hunt yard sales, flea markets...and the free adds on Craig's List!  We always seem to accumulate weird, random things that we have no use for at the time but are convinced we will one day use.  ( I love that my husband lets me collect junk- this is one of the many ways I know he truly loves me! )  Last winter when I FINALLY discovered Pinterest, the hubby began collecting free pallets for me because I love the rustic decor floating around that is made with pallets.  Unfortunately, this pile outside my back door has just been growing since free pallets are so easy to come by.  I am pretty sure that one of these days people are going to realize pallets are awesome and start charging for them...I do not look forward to that day.

Since I wanted to clear my porch off a little as backyard barbecue time is beginning to approach, last week I started breaking into my first pallet without much purpose for what I would do with it. Then I remembered this:

And I remembered how awesome I think this is; then I decided to make one for fall...but I didn't want to have to spend much money to make it happen.  Thinking back to those pallets, I couldn't figure out how to use them for this project since the slats aren't wide enough to stand on their own...until...dum dada dum: I realized the 2x4 bases of the pallets would work fabulously.  Luckily my husband trusts me with power tools (Ha!) so I got to work measuring, sanding, and cutting!!

I will attempt to include my steps below, but here is a link to the original done by Dittle Dattle (she is my inspiration) so you can see what I used and adapted from her post!

Since I had already disassembled a pallet, I didn't have to worry about that, but I started off using a hammer and flat-blade screwdriver until I could get a small crowbar from my husband's collection of tools he keeps on his work truck.

Step 1: Decide how big you want your blocks to be.  
You could really make them any size you want based on where you plan to display them, like for instance if you wanted to put them on your porch, you might make them a foot tall, maybe 7" for a main mantle display, etc.  I want mine to go on a side table, so I followed the example in the image above and decided on varying sizes. Plus I figured my first use of a circular saw may also produce slightly varied blocks :)

My blocks were all 4" wide (so I didn't have to adjust the 2x4) and I varied between approximately 4" and 5" for the height.

Step 2: Measure and cut

I actually gave my 2x4's an initial sanding since they were in kind of rough shape (I didn't want to end up with any slivers.)

Measure and be sure to mark off your blocks where you want them.  Clamp down your board you plan to cut, put on your proper safety equipment, and then go to town with the saw.

You could use lots of different kinds of saws for this, but I used a circular saw because it is light enough for me to handle and operate easily on my own and is more precise then some of the other saws we have!

Step 3: Sand
You can do a lot with the sanding to add character, etc based on what you are looking to accomplish.  Jason and I decided we really like the look of the raw wood, and since it fits with fall, we opted not paint them and leave some of the natural graininess.  Depending on what you plan to do will determine the extent of your sanding.  If you plan to cover the edges with ribbon like in the inspiration post, you will not have to focus on these too much; since I am not using ribbon, I wanted them to be smooth.  I also rounded the corners a bit.

Sand to your desired texture.  I used an 80 grit first (during my initial sanding to get rid of splinters) and then used a 100 grit.  This left the weathered color of the grain, but smoothed the wood enough to look pretty! Be sure to clean the sawdust off before continuing to the next step.

Step 4: Decor
Now is when you really need to decide exactly what you want to do with your blocks, and get it done. Originally I was going to paint the blocks a neutral fall tone and then add the scrapbooking paper like in the link above, but since we opted to keep the wood look, I skipped this step and jumped straight to the mod podge-ing.  If you are painting, you will want to give the paint some time to dry before continuing to where I pick up.

I chose some beautiful fall paper from K & Company (purchased at Michael's with my awesome teacher discount, yaya) You will need to measure and cut your paper to the appropriate sizes for your blocks and then begin attaching!

Due to our love of the natural wood, we also decided not to cover the entire front with paper, but instead to cut out letters (hard work without a die-cut, cricut, or other amazing cutting tool besides basic scissors) and attach them directly to the block!

I coated the front of each letter and embellishment with Mod Podge before also using Mod Podge to attach them to the wood blocks!  Be sure to let the letters dry completely before attaching or you may end up with wrinkles.

I also ended up putting different papers on the left side of the block to spice it up a little since we went with plainer fronts.  If you choose to go with the raw wood, my recommendation would be to NOT coat the front of the wood block with mod podge; I did with one of mine and am now very sad I did because I don't really like the color it left me with.  Of course, if you have children (or clumsy, irresponsible adult friends) you may want to do this to insure that they will not be ruined by a spilled glass of water, juice, etc.

Step 5: Enjoy :)

I am SO incredibly in love with how these turned out, and quite proud of myself too.  Thankfully my husband was a good supporter when I was freaking out thinking "no, shouldn't have done that," or "crap, honey which paper should I use?!"

Now find an awesome place in your house to show off your hard work, and be sure to tell all your friends so they can compliment your awesomeness ;)

Posting project two soon; check back to see the finished result!