Framing A Love Story

It’s raining! No, not outside, but it seems like I’m getting caught up in a lot of showers these days. I’m talking about wedding and baby showers! Don’t even ask how many I’ve been to in the past year—I’ve lost count. And while I know the happy couples and expecting parents may have put a lot of thought into the items on their registries, I sometimes like to go my own way, especially if it’s for a close friend. After all, Aunt Susan can buy you that Le Cruset pot that you just HAVE TO HAVE! Instead, I like to do something I little different.

Framing A Love Story - A wedding shower gift by somethingwewhippedup.com

Framing A Love Story – A wedding shower gift by somethingwewhippedup.com

For a recent wedding shower I decided to create something for the happy couple to display in their home. I used cutouts of maps to tell their love story, highlighting important moments in their relationship (where they met and fell in love, where they got engaged and the new city they recently moved to together). The personalization options for a gift like this are endless!

Here’s how it all came together:

Framing A Love Story

1. Gather all of your supplies at a workstation. Take apart your frame and used the spray adhesive to attach decorative paper (I chose linen) directly to the inside of the back piece of the frame (creating a base for you to work on).

2. Use the circle punch to cut meaningful locations out of an atlas. You can also print maps on the computer, but I liked the style of the maps in the atlas a bit better than what I could find online.

3. Use a computer to design any other text that you may want incorporated into your design. Print your designs and text on heavy card stock and cut out with decorative scissors if desired.

4. Lay out your design and use the spray adhesive (a nice thin, even coat is all you need) to attach everything. Put the frame back together and give as a gift or hang on the wall.

SWWU Tip 1: Though it’s a little pricy, the spray adhesive I recommended above is well worth the investment. It allows you to use the thinnest coat of glue possible, which is ideal when working with thin paper. It dries very quickly, so make sure you’re putting pieces exactly where you want them when using it.

SWWU Tip 2: I was able to find an inexpensive 2013 atlas in a used book store for just $3. You can find similar deals at stores near your house or on eBay and Amazon.

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Mixing Up Some Gifts

I’m a big fan of giving food gifts. Who doesn’t love a box of cookies, a bottle of homemade vanilla extract or a plate of boozy blondies? And, as a bonus, I get to enjoy tailoring each gift to each recipient. This past holiday season I decided to change things up a bit, though, and strayed from my typical edible presents. Instead, I decided to give gifts that would last long after the holiday season was over. Behold, my gift of choice: The wooden spoon!
Mixing Up Some Gifts: DIY Wood Burned Spoons by somethingwewhippedup.com

Mixing Up Some Gifts: DIY Wood Burned Spoons by somethingwewhippedup.com

While I can’t take credit for the idea (there are similar items all over Pinterest and Etsy), I can say I had a fun time playing with my new wood burning tool as I worked to develop a new crafting skill. I etched a different design into each wooden spoon I had—all 36 of them—mostly so I could try out all of the attachments that came with my burner. I found the activity to be very calming, similar to casually sketching in a notepad. I was able to create a wide variety of styles so I let each recipient choose the spoon that best suited her and her kitchen.
For a first go-around, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’m hoping to move beyond spoons and engrave cutting boards, frames and more. Stay tuned to see what I do next.
In the meantime, here’s a few tips to make your first experience with a wood burning tool run smoothly:
  • Burning into a flat surface is easiest, beware of curves until you get the hang of working with the tool.
  • Pay attention! The tip of the tool gets extremely hot. This is not a tool that should be used around young kids or pets that might bump into it.
  • Open a window or make sure you’re working in an area that is well ventilated. It smelled like a campfire in my house for a few days after I’d finished my projects. I didn’t mind, but it’s worth noting.
  • Use a piece of scrap wood to do a test run with each tip that comes with the wood burning kit. Once the hot tip touches the wood, it has made its mark and there’s no turning back.
  • It takes the tips a long time to cool down once they’ve been heated. The included instructions recommend you unplug the tool and let it cool completely before swapping in a new tip. To avoid a long wait time I used pliers to loosen and remove the old tip and put the new one on. Be be extra careful not to touch anything with your bare skin.
  • Have fun! There’s no right or wrong way to design something.

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A Glass Act

If you were to take a peek inside our kitchen cupboards you’d notice that I like simplicity. I prefer a nice clean slate to showcase delicious food and pretty decorations on, so white plates and clear glasses make up about 80 percent of our housewares. Sometimes though, a pop of color can be a welcome addition. I was recently craving some color after I brought home some pretty yellow flowers. The clear vases I had on hand just weren’t helping them shine, so I decided to transform the rather plain items below into colorful bud vases.

What we started with for the DIY Bud Vases (by somethingwewhippedup.com)

What we started with for the DIY Bud Vases (by somethingwewhippedup.com)

All you need to do the same are a few colorful balloons, scissors and some small vessels to cover. Seriously, it’s that easy. Take a look at the result below. Not bad, right?

DIY Bud Vases by somethingwewhippedup.com

DIY Bud Vases by somethingwewhippedup.com

Whether they’re displayed on a shelf or lined up down the center of a table, I bet my guests would never guess that these bud vases are made from random kitchen items including jars, bottles, salt and pepper shakers, a shot glass and a jigger.

To make some for yourself, use scissors to snip the ends off of a balloon (the amount you cut will vary based on what you’re covering). Stretch the latex over the vessel and adjust as necessary. The balloons will only stretch so far without tearing, so use your best judgement when selecting balloon sizes and objects to cover. I allowed the latex to bunch a bit on a few of the vases, which added a nice texture to the look. I also enjoyed when the balloon didn’t cover the entire object, and just provided a stripe of color (as it did in the glass bottle in the background of the photo). Play around and have some fun.

SWWU Tip: The best part about this project is its versatility. Balloons come in every color of the rainbow, so you’re sure to find one that matches the look or theme you’re going for.

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SYWU: Finding Your Footing

Today is a special day at SWWU: We’re going to introduce a new section of the blog, Something YOU Whipped Up. That’s right! We know many of our talented readers and friends have completed all sorts of awesome projects. And now, we’re going to show them off right here from time to time.

Today we have a project from Eric and Mike, a creative couple in North Carolina. Here, Eric is going to share with us something he recently whipped up for their beautiful home!

Finding Your Footing via EL Hastie for somethingwewhippedup.com

Finding Your Footing via EL Hastie for somethingwewhippedup.com

We love cast iron. Besides making the best material for cooking delicious goodies, it also has been formed into many delightful decorations for outdoor patios, city manhole covers, and most importantly, bathtub feet. On a recent antiquing adventure, I was hunting for some cool old bookends. I was about to give up when I spotted the rusty pair of feet pictured below and I thought, “Well, no one is going to use these on a bathtub, but the weight of them makes them perfect for bookends.” What can I say, I’m a sucker for that awesome eagle claw.

After a good scrubbing with a wire brush to clean off the loose rust, I washed them with soapy water and let them dry. After that, each one got a few coats of Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch spray paint in Gloss Cranberry and then I let them dry overnight. The two make for perfect bookends—and they’ve turned out to be a fun topic of conversation when guests are over.

SWWU Tip: Eric picked up his cast iron claw feet at the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall in Charlotte, NC. When he found them, pairs were going for $35 to $50 each. I just did a quick search on Etsy and eBay and found a few sets ranging from $20 to $100 or more. Try searching for the term “cast iron claw feet,” and see what you can find. Make sure the set you buy is smooth on top, so they’ll rest flat on a surface.

Have you and your partner tackled a fun project you think others will enjoy? If so, let us know what YOU whipped up and your design might be featured on the site. Email us at contactswwu[at]gmail[dot]com. Please see our About Us page for submission guidelines.

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Special Delivery

Most of our friends are in baby mode this year. They’ve either just had a baby, are currently expecting or are hoping to be soon. Because of this, I’ve thrown my fair share of showers and have purchased more onesies than I ever imagined I would. Recently, I came up with a special gift for the busy mom and dad to enjoy now, and the baby to (hopefully) appreciate one day down the road.

When I get word that parents-to-be are rushing to the hospital or have given their midwife a call, I head right to the newsstand. There I make sure to pick up a copy of that day’s New York Times and a few other periodicals. A recent collection I put together also contained that week’s edition of the Village Voice and the current issues of The New Yorker, Time, New York and People.

Special Delivery by somethingwewhippedup.com

Special Delivery by somethingwewhippedup.com

I put everything together in a decorative box and hand it off to the parents long after the excitement and craze of the birth has calmed down a bit (usually when the baby is 5 to 6 months old). My hope is that the baby will one day enjoy this memento as a small peek into what the world was like the day and week he or she came into this world.

To make the box below, I covered the outside of a decorative book-shaped box (purchased at T.J. Maxx) with a very light coating of spray paint. I then used Mod Podge to affix and seal pictures and passages from old Beatrix Potter books to it. The baby’s name was partially inspired by the classic author, so it seemed it would be fitting to incorporate that information into the gift. The box had plenty of extra room inside, so I suggested the baby’s parents use it as a place to store the cards they received just after their new daughter was born. Hopefully, this keepsake will be tucked away on a shelf somewhere and given to Baby B when she is old enough to enjoy its contents.

SWWU Tip: You should customize your box and newsstand selections to the family you’re purchasing them for. Other great additions might include hometown newspapers, church bulletins or other magazines.

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