Sunday, April 5, 2020

let's decorate jars

Hello! It's been a long time since I've blogged regularly and I hope that you're enjoying these Sunday updates as much as I do creating them. If you're a first time visitor here's a little recap. The past two projects have been made from emptied tin cans (pencil cup, luminary); today I thought we'd venture into jelly jars!



You will need
Jars

My favorite jars for tinkering are from Bonne Maman preserves. I like the short shape, gingham lids, and best of all, their labels easily slide off with a soak in warm soapy water. Of course, any glass jar will do.



Embellishing a jar can be as simple as tying a scrap of ribbon around its base.

You will need
Jar
Ribbon
Scissors

• • •




Embellishing a jar can be as involved as painting the lid and topping it with a circle of paper with a new label to match.* Seal top with decoupage medium.

You will need
Jar
Decoupage medium (Mod Podge)
Foam brush
Glue stick
Paint (craft, spray, leftover house paint)
Paper
Scissors

• • •



This jar simply has a torn piece of fabric glued to the front.

You will need
Jar
Fabric
Glue stick
Scissors

• • •



I use jars in the Girlie Office to display small supplies. For this project, upload a floral fabric image and size to fit a mailing label, add text on top in an unfilled box, and print to create pretty labels**; trim sides with a scallop-edged scissors if you have one handy. Use label scraps to cover the lid.

You will need
Jar
Word processing program
Scallop-edged scissors
Sheet of adhesive mailing labels





Happy tinkering + please stay safe at home + well!

xo
elyse

PS
Show me your projects by tagging #tinkeredtreasures or #tinkereverything on Instagram

Using the book Tinkered Treasures, CICO Books
{search your favorite bookseller or library}:
*Tinkered Treasures - Tinkering Recyclables - Relish Jars, p. 72
**Tinkered Treasures - Getting Started - Making Pretty Paper & Pretty Labels, p. 16

Sunday, March 29, 2020

let's make a tin can luminary

Hello! I hope everyone is hanging in there. I have another project to share today, continuing with the tin can theme since chances are good you have one available. For this series of "let's make" projects, I'm aiming for supplies you already have at home. 


You will need
Hammer
Nail
Paint, brush (optional)
Pencil
Tin Can

Prep
Once again, I like a flip-top soup can for this project but most any medium to large sized will do. Friendly reminder, if you use a can that required opening, be sure to hammer or tamp down sharp points. Make sure the can is clean and dry. I generally peel off labels and run through the dishwasher but a good soak and rinse is just fine.

Draw, Fill + Freeze
Draw a simple shape such as a heart on one or both sides of the can. Fill the empty can almost to the top with water and place in the freezer for a couple of hours – you want the water inside to just-freeze as leaving the can in the freezer for an extended period of time can cause the bottom to expand and warp, making it unsteady as a fixture and we want the base to remain flat.

Channel Your Inner Flintstone
Prepare a sturdy surface (even the floor) where you can hammer a pattern into the can; nesting the can in a thick towel works well. Following the shape you have drawn, gently hammer holes in the pattern, leaving a small space between each, essentially creating a dotted line. Too complicated? Just make random holes, it will still look cool!


Work carefully and quickly to make all the holes before the ice melts. If you plan to hang your luminary, make two holes toward the top of the can on either side so you can attach a handle. When all the hammering is completed, drain and dry the can.

Finishing Touches
Paint the exterior of the can (with heat-safe paint) if you wish but it’s not necessary. If you want to hang your luminary, thread a sturdy piece of wire through and fasten well either by bending or tying. Pro-tip: The handle from a Chinese food take-out carton makes a good hanger!

Ta-da!

Place a votive inside (I prefer battery operated over an actual candle) and enjoy when the sun goes down!

Happy tinkering + please stay safe at home + well!

xo
elyse

Project photo and illustration: Seaside Tinkered Treasures, CICO Books. 
Back story blog post.

PS
Show me your projects by tagging #tinkeredtreasures or #tinkereverything on Instagram

Sunday, March 22, 2020

let's decorate a tin can

Hello! I hope everyone is doing well! No need to read three to four paragraphs before we get started. Let's tinker a can! This is a project that I've been doing for a long time. It's simple and doesn't require many supplies and chances are good that you have an empty can just waiting in your recycling bin. Use your completed project to hold flowers, pencils, and more!


You will need:
Foam paint brush
Glitter
Glue pen
Glue stick
Image on paper
Mod Podge
Paint
Scissors
Tin can
This series is from my archives and is kind of backwards! 
Start at bottom-right, and keep going right until you get to the top-left.

Prep
Progresso soup cans are great for this project because they have flip-top lids which don't leave behind jagged edges. If you do use a can that required opening, be sure to hammer or tamp down sharp points or even cover them over with electrical tape. Make sure the can is clean and dry. I generally peel off labels and run through the dishwasher but a good soak and rinse should do the trick.

Paint
What kind of paint do you have? If you have acrylic craft paint or even leftover house interior paint, apply to the can exterior with a brush. If you're using spray paint, be sure to use outdoors on a still day. No paint? Wrap the can with paper! See Paper Collage variation further below.

Image
I generally download or scan floral fabrics or wallpaper, then enlarge my favorite part, and print out. Next, carefully trim with scissors. Apply glue stick to the back of your cut-out and press on to the can. Seal image with a light coat or two of Mod Podge on a dry foam brush. Allow to dry. No patience for this part? Find a nice sticker.

Embellish
Use a glue pen to draw fine lines where you will sprinkle glitter – one color at a time.



Voila!



That time Matthew Mead photographed a tinkered can


The back cover of Tinkered Treasures


Paper collage variation



Happy tinkering + please stay safe at home + well!

xo
elyse

PS
Show me your projects by tagging #tinkeredtreasures or #tinkereverything on Instagram


Saturday, March 21, 2020

let's make things

Hello!


If this is your first visit, I'm Elyse. I started this blog, initially called "cottage" in August of 2008. At the time, this was the extent of social media for me but I took to blogging quickly as I thought of this space as my own little magazine – a place to share about the craft and DIY home projects I was doing and play at writing in what I called "magazine-ese" style (that succinct writing used in captions). Before long I had this lovely group of online friends near and far. We all found each other somehow, sharing our love for vintage cupcake ballerinas and floral prints. Soon with the encouragement of many, I was selling on Etsy, did a couple of craft fairs, and was submitting tutorial ideas and pitching stories to my favorite magazines. Once I saw my first piece in print – I had the bug, that publishing bug – and it hasn't let up since. Fast-forward, I have written two craft books, co-authored a book of IKEA hacks, have contributed many articles and projects to magazines, even made friends with some of the editors I idolize. Today, I'm the editor-in-chief of a family of Rhode Island magazines. So why all the exposition? I plan to begin blogging again and want to introduce myself. Now, more than ever, I think people want to create things and all of my projects have humble beginnings – a soup can, scraps of paper and fabric, leftover paint. Starting soon I will blog easy step-by-step projects. This isn't a fancy website, I'm not doing YouTube videos, I don't have any sponsors. It's just me, paper, scissors, and glue, hoping to share some creativity and beauty for your little corner of the world.

xo
elyse

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

looking ahead

New Year's Eve is the perfect time to be reflective, right? I was sitting on the couch watching a live broadcast of fireworks in Boston, it had just turned 7pm and the station cut-in to also show London, where the clock just struck midnight. Happy New Year! I decided it would be fun to join the online conversation and post something to Instagram but didn't really have anything new to share from my phone's gallery (and the light is too dim to snap any pics) so I revisited the archives of my barely functioning home computer.


I found this photo and it kind of stopped me in my tracks. Created in 2011 around the height of my being active on this blog and working tirelessly to build a portfolio of published writing and craft tutorials to support a book proposal. In 2013 my first book Tinkered Treasures was published by CICO Books, followed in 2014 by Seaside Tinkered Treasures, and a few years later came "the IKEA book" in various versions by different publishers. All the while I continued to write home features for shelter magazines. It was a busy time of making and writing and writing about making. So much has happened to me professionally since I wrapped some pencils in photocopies of fabric, topped them with paper roses, and snapped some pics.

I think of the past year and realize I didn't tinker very much with paper and glue. I did spend a lot of time writing, which is a great thing. I also realized that I'm not sharing about making as much and decided to rename my Instagram account to reflect that I'm instead posting more about my life and work and the things I find beautiful – and so with Elyse Major already taken – you can find me on Instagram now at elyse.press.major  It felt strange letting go of my "brand name" but it also seems like a good move forward. The account is still Tinkered Treasures on Facebook. Baby steps, right?

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy year ahead! Thank you for reading!

xo
Elyse


Sunday, February 3, 2019

insta inadvertent decor diary

We're living in an age where our every move is documented in some form or another. Sometimes this is a useful thing; for example in a few moments I retraced that instant when I decided to paint my kitchen-dining room walls white.


I saw the above post and GASP... began following each account involved in the making of this bright and simple mudroom. As commented, I was smitten with the white walls, woven blinds, and overall simplicity.


Ever the fickle decorating pickle, I'd been switching accents around in my dining room, most notably the window treatments and table coverings. Shabby Chic valances and a lace window panel; roller blinds striped with Frog tape for the IKEA book paired with yardage of floral cotton; and finally black and white checked valances with a section of brown kraft paper. Despite the look from varying exposures, always the white table, always the smoke blue Isabella dining chairs, and always the Spring Morn-painted walls. I always adored the dining decor but suddenly it seemed fussy.


Even a room in Dollhouse no. 2 received a test make-over with a white accent wall and matchstick blinds fashioned from toothpicks. I was ready for this change. Down came the valances and wall decor of the real kitchen and dining room, and in came buckets of pure white; painting was completed toward the end of September.


So fresh, open and clean, I didn't want to return anything except for the dining set. Of course pieces did make it back, including the addition of the living room armoire which couldn't accommodate the size of a new-to-us TV.


All of the wall decor and miscellaneous items ended up in the Girlie Office during the painting process.


I found affordable woven Roman shades at Overstock and as documented on Instagram, they were all installed by mid-November. The chandelier still hangs but I've been thinking of replacing it with this industrial pendant lamp that was once in my youngest son's room.


I am really enjoying the streamline look so much so, that no wall decor has been returned to either the kitchen or dining room walls. Will the Fresh Cut Flowers enamel sign return? Will there be a mirror or a painting? I want the spaces to have a coastal-farmhouse vibe but in the meantime, am leaving it be and enjoying the simplicity and will likely be documenting any progress on Instagram.

Thanks for reading and Happy February!

xo
elyse




Wednesday, December 26, 2018

my year end review: looking to the present

I’ve never been very good at resolutions or even setting goals but I do like having a word for the year ahead. Somehow even in the back of my mind the word becomes a motto, an M.O., a compass, a comfort. The word enters my thoughts, prescribed by circumstance; it seems to present itself and I don’t ruminate over it, I agree and accept. There was that year where I felt scattered and so my word was mindful, the year of making random career choices and so I went with strategic. Last year I was in a dark place professionally and the word flourish found me, and I’m glad it did.


2018 kicked off with a visit from the incredibly talented Matthew Mead, someone whose work as a stylist, photographer and magazine editor I have been following for years. Funny, gracious, and creative as they come, I am honored to know Matthew and call him my friend. He showed up on a bright Saturday morning in January – his pick-up truck filled with props and buckets of fresh flowers – for a fun filled day of styling and photographing my home. The images that focused on my craft room, aka the Girlie Office, are featured nearly a year later, in the current issue of In Her Studio magazine.


During the first half of the year, writing for shelter magazines kept me afloat both emotionally and financially. For each home story that I penned, I was transported, inspired, and validated. While a trio of articles is just about to hit newsstands in Boho Style, I actually wrote them back in April and so they seem like ages ago. Another piece due out early in 2019 was written in July. That’s the world of the editorial calendar -- always months ahead. 


During the second half of the year, on June 11 to be exact, I started a new position, my dream job as editor in chief at Providence Media, publisher of a host of Rhode Island lifestyle magazines. Here, I am surrounded by kind collaborative colleagues and am committed to work that I love. I feel valued, useful, and appreciated, and proud of what we do. I have my own office with a tall window that overlooks a leafy brick courtyard. Each day I pitch and develop story ideas, I write, assign, edit, and I even do some product styling. Six months in, I still don’t get that Sunday feeling of dread.


Being immersed in planning editorial content for a series of magazines, my mind is always spinning and months ahead. In September I was writing about wintertime and today I’m working on March. This can cause time to blur and even holidays to feel like they already happened. I have also been self-aware of skimming instead of reading, scanning not looking, and hearing over listening. It’s no wonder that the word PRESENT surfaced as my word for 2019. The plan is to strive to be better aware of my surroundings, to slow down a bit, to pay attention. After all, each day is a gift – that’s why they call it the present, right?

Thanks as always for reading. All best wishes, always!

xo
Elyse

Saturday, August 18, 2018

such a pity: final issue of prairie style magazine


To receive an assignment for Prairie Style magazine from its Founder and Editor in Chief Fifi O'Neill, was like getting a present. The honor of being among her roster of writers aside, sets of images for each home bundled in emails were always a swoon-fest! Through the years I connected with homeowners around the United States, mostly by email or phone, even forming some friendships along the way. Why the past-tense? The Autumn 2018 issue will be the last of this series.


Fifi broke the news to me months ago but reading her ever-gracious editor's letter simply titled "Thankful" most definitely bummed me out. It's no secret that magazines are having a tough time with advertisers spending more of their dollars digitally these days. I too spend hours scrolling through images on social media but when I'm really ready to dig in to a project, it's the printed page every time.


There's something special about images that have been planned and styled and photographed by seasoned professionals. All of the time including travel that goes into this work all for us to want to buy this magazine over another one fascinates me; images get posted to Instagram where we scroll them, stopping for seconds to show our adoration with a heart. But the thing is, I don't want printed magazines to go away any more than I want my local bookstore-cafe to disappear. I enjoy the experience. What good is online content when the power goes out?


Writing for Prairie Style has made an impression on my own decorating. I've been inspired to paint my bathroom floor in a checkerboard pattern.


I learned so many tips and tricks from Kim Leggett of City Farmhouse who recently published her first book.


I wrote about a studio constructed of hay bales...


Virtually met fashion and home furnishings designer Tracy Porter and her menagerie of animals...


Learned about pockets of America and even building construction terms and techniques...


Shared about the beauty of simplicity...


Indulged my adoration for alliteration...


Became a fan of ship lap without watching Chip and Joanna Gaines...


And developed a project or two.


I continue to write for other magazines but I'll never forget Prairie and hope you enjoyed it, too.


For the sake of keeping this post from getting too lengthy, only a sampling of readily available images to me are included but all of the generous homeowners and designers and their beautiful and clever surroundings have inspired me in some way and I thank everyone for being available and responsive to my MANY questions!!!

The final issue is now available for presale and hits newsstands on September 4 (some back issues are listed as well). Let's make Prairie go out with a bang and somehow keep our other newsstand favorites going strong!

xo
Elyse

Captions for images from top to bottom {pretty sure they're all accurate}
Major bunting, Summer 2015
Autumn 2018 issue
Linderman home, Summer 2015
McConnell home/Leggett designer, Winter 2015
McConnell home/Leggett designer, Winter 2015
Holt studio, Winter 2015
Porter ranch, Spring 2015
Anderson cabin, Summer 2016
Linderman home, Summer 2015
McCreary home, Spring 2018
Bush home, Summer 2016
Major bunting, Summer 2015
Healy home, Winter 2017