First off, thanks be to xoJane commenters krisasaurus and Monica Brouwer for suggesting a "House Creepers" column to us way back when. We loooove the idea of showing you inside our homes, warts and all, and plan to feature more sneak peeks at the crazy/sentimental/silly/lovely stuff our writers and readers collect, display, and treasure.
I thought it might be fun to kick things off by sharing a few items around my own apartment that bring me joy on a daily basis, which also happen to be handmade and inexpensive to recreate. And away we go...
1. DÉCOUPAGE PLATE
I love my colorful plate to pieces. I mean literally, since it was made by affixing many, many bits and pieces of vintage and new paper scraps to a clear glass plate. I made this plate in a class taught by my amazing artist friend Lisa Congdon, who also wrote up the instructions as a how-to project that appears in the book "Crafting a Meaningful Home." That book is FULL of killer ideas, btw.
If you start squirreling away cool patterned papers, you'll build up a great stash in no time, which is great for projects like this one. The plate currently hangs on my kitchen wall alongside some thrifted odds and ends. Its confetti-bright colors cheer me up and remind me of the friend who showed me how to make it. Aww!
2. CREPE PAPER FLOWERS
I have two cats who prowl my apartment like savage panthers, mowing down everything in their paths ... including houseplants. But for some reason they've never been tempted by these crepe paper flowers I made. They've lasted for 3 or 4 years now, which is more than I can say for my ficus.
These particular flowers -- which I think are supposed to be dogwoods, but I'm no botanist -- were made using a Martha Stewart Crafts kit from Michaels, which I don't think they offer anymore (though she does offer a multi-bloom style kit for $9.99). Her website offers instructions on making several styles of flora, however, so give it a try if real plants aren't your bag but you want a bit of springtime pretty up in your joint.
3. HOT WATER HEATER HIDER THINGIE
I am a renter, and my landlord has elected to keep our hot water heater in our kitchen, right next to the fridge. Stupid AND ugly, my favorite! For years I just suffered the fug, but when I repainted (and re-floored, thank you ... yes, I put in that linoleum!) the place with my brilliant pal Hannah a while back, she had a great idea.
She had a thrifted, accordion-style room divider languishing unused in her basement, so we unscrewed one of the panels, spraypainted the whole thing white, and glued on some vintage wallpaper (try Etsy and eBay) using Mod Podge. Now I have an adorable screen to look at instead of a dumb appliance. How I wish I'd done it AGES ago!
4. PATCHWORK SHOWER CURTAIN
I kinda hate most commercial shower curtains, and I couldn't find one I liked that coordinated well with my newly-repainted bathroom. The paint came from my local True Value and the color is called "Sea Salt" which totally makes me want to lick the walls, except that it's a bathroom so there are probably some really horrible microscopic germs lingering there, so I won't (haven't you read about how if you leave your toothbrushes on the sink you're basically brushing with turds?!).
ANYWAY. Since I couldn't find a curtain I liked I grabbed some fabric scraps and made one for myself inspired by this tutorial by Brett Bara. As Rachel has already shown us, Brett's instructions are always clear and easy to follow, the lady is ON POINT. A patchwork shower curtain is a great way to use up weird-sized fabric scraps, and I like that I can just toss it in the wash when I need to. If I ever get bored with it, I'll make pillows out of it or something.
5. FRIDGE MAGNET MATCHBOX
So simple, yet so cute and SO handy. I have an old-fashioned gas stove which I occasionally need to re-light, plus I enjoy scented candles like a big girly-girl, and I got sick of opening the kitchen drawer to pull out the matches every time I needed them. So I glue stick'd some pretty paper to a matchbox, then used a stronger glue (E-6000 is the BOMB) to adhere a strong magnet to the back. Now my matches are within easy reach whenever I need one, and I can use them to hang up the drawings my friends' kids make for me. (This drawing actually cost me a dollar, the kid is a freaking mercenary I tells ya!)
This last little bit, I cannot claim credit for, but I wanted to share with you nonetheless. I reached into the freezer to grab some ginger one day and was met with this little goofus my husband created for me:
Now I know THAT is a home décor project just about anyone can handle, craft-savvy or not, and you won't find it on the shelf at Pier 1.