DIY Shelves

In September, Michael at Inspired by Charm posted a DIY Picture Ledge how-to, and it certainly was inspiring! With his instructions, and the help of my friends, I was able to spruce up a sparse wall and find a home for the nick-knacks scattered about my space.

before DIY Shelves makeover

The instructions for these DIY Shelves were straightforward, and they were constructed in a short time one afternoon. I can’t really say I did much of the assembly, since I had extensive help, but I sanded, painted & installed them a few days later and that part went smoothly.

New DIY Shelves:

after DIY Shelves makeover

Not as sophisticated a display as at Inspired by Charm, but since I’m the only one who uses this room most of the time, it fits my needs and it makes me happy. I have some toys on the shelves, gifts I’ve received, a glass mosaic project I made, and a Roald Dahl quote that I love from kensiekate on etsy. (The wall is actually a solid color, the lighting is causing that ombre effect.)

Two weeks in a row where I’m mentioning projects inspired by other bloggers. Have you made anything prompted by another website lately?

Trying Something New – English Paper Piecing

As usual, I jumped into something new without too much thought or planning, hoping that I’d succeed at my first try. I was lucky this time! Of course, I had the confidence that I’d be following the directions of an excellent teacher, and it worked out wonderfully.

The CraftyPod Football Fringe Scarf - trying something new with Tamdoll

About a week before my wedding anniversary, I saw this blog post: Crafty Football Blog Hop: How to Make a Football Fringe Scarf over at CraftyPod. It didn’t matter that I had never done English Paper Piecing (EPP) before, or even that I hadn’t sewn anything in a very long time – it was unique & had footballs. My husband is a sports fanatic, and loves professional, college and local high school football.

Since he goes to more local games than professional ones, I decided to use the high school colors and picked out some coordinating fleece. I actually looked for a pre-made scarf to sew the footballs onto, but couldn’t find one, and I think that saved me some money. With the small quantities of material called for in this project, the total came to less than $10, and that made me very happy. (I’m sounding pretty cheap here. But I really believe that the thought that goes into something is waaaay more valuable than the expense of it.)

Waiting until the night before I needed it wasn’t the brightest idea – I was up a few hours past my bedtime & had to improvise* on a couple of parts … then, so I wouldn’t wake my house with the noise,  wake up in the morning to complete the machine sewing portion. I did it! And I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. So was my husband. ☺

Diane‘s clear instructions and paper piecing videos made this project very do-able. I can see other EPP projects in my future, and probably some more scarves with other team colors.

When was the last time you tried something new? Did you like it?


* What I improvised on – I didn’t have any gray fabric paint, so I used what I had at home – Fabric Pastel Dye Sticks to color the lines in the footballs. There was no drying time required this way (just a hot iron needed), although the coverage wasn’t as solid as I would have liked.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ATC Swap

Sometimes too much of a good thing, is just… too much. (Rainbows of colors to choose from, varieties of mediums, unlimited ideas and possibilities – it can be overwhelming!) Having limits and guidelines to creativity can often funnel thoughts into inspiration. When infinite possibilities stall the beginnings of a project, a limited focus can make a path more clear.

As soon as I saw the title for the ATC (Artist Trading Card) Swap going on at Willowing & Friends, I knew I wanted to participate – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I loved the earth-friendly topic & wanted to jump right in.

blank cards for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ATC Swap

Of course, when I sat down to create, I froze, not knowing what I was going to do next. Looking around at the mess on my desk, I saw an abundance of recyclable items –  pieces of paper and scraps just lying around, waiting to be re-purposed.

Reduce, Reuse, Recyclebeginning ATC cards for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Swap

By focusing on the theme of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, I became determined to only use what I had on my desktop to complete the cards for the swap.
Desktop Recycling ATC cards for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Swap

The images on the cards grew from pencil shavings, the lids of paint jars, gesso, and markers.recycling in action for ATC Swap of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In the end, I completed two of these & sent them off to my partner -

completed ATCs for Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Swap with Tamdoll

I also decided to scan & upload these images to a new Society6 shop, where they’re available as prints, cards, phone covers and device skins. I named them after the idea I kept having while creating – “There is Beauty in Everything” & “Find the Beauty in Every Thing”.

I think these sat on my desk for too long after completion, because I went on to make a little booklet to hold them, using pieces of: cardboard, a thank you card, and a subway map for the insides; then covering it all with painted paper towels. Yes, this was all on my desk, I did say it was a mess, didn’t I?

Tamdoll booklet Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ATC Swap

Thanks to for the booklet how-to.

Of course, this was a swap & I got the most lovely package from my partner Gracie! I love those cards & have placed them on a shelf next to my desk. The extras she sent will definitely find their way into a future project, too.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ATC Swap from Gracie Howle

This was fun & a good exercise for me. My personal goal for the year has been “focus” and I think this fits as a good reminder that narrowing focus can help to get things done. There was another limiting factor to this project – the time-frame. Having a commitment to my swap partner ensured that I’d finish this and send it out in the mail on time.

How do you get your projects started and finished in a timely manner?

*Disclaimer: The Society6 link provided is an affiliate link, I will be compensated if you make a purchase from Thanks for your support!