Chalkboard Paint Door

2015 went out with a bang. In the course of one month, Anne and I proposed to each other on our 7-year anniversary, drove from Philly to Chicago and back to spend time with Anne’s family for her birthday and Christmas, hosted my family in Philly for a post-Christmas/engagement/New Year’s party, and made delicious fried pork dumplings as a last hurrah of the year. Phew!

January is all about recalibrating and figuring out what is and isn’t working. What wasn’t working toward the end of last year was working long hours six days a week, not feeling focused on one task at a time, eating too quickly, being absorbed by social media, and generally feeling the holiday frenzy.

This year I’ve decided to focus more on uni-tasking (read an amazing article on it here), as well as taking time to cook, bake, knit, and continue teaching myself to sew. I’ve rearranged my work schedule back into five days a week (for now) so that Anne and I can fill our time off together with home projects and celebrating our engagement!

Our latest home project was revamping the inside of our front door. It was feeling pretty sad and overlooked, and I thought that chalkboard paint would be both practical and really fun. We didn’t need many supplies for this project, and I would recommend it to anyone looking to spice up a little piece of their home. Below is the tutorial!

Chalkboard Paint Door

Materials:

  • 180-grit sand paper
  • TSP spray
  • Rag or paper towel
  • Washi tape or painter’s tape
  • 1 quart chalkboard paint in any color
  • Wooden paint stirrers
  • 2-4 foam brushes
  • Chalk
  • Eraser

Step 1: Take the door off of the hinges, and place it on a tall, sturdy table. Use 180-grit sand paper to thoroughly sand the side of the door to paint. Insure that the surface of the door is smooth and free of any large bumps.

Step 2: Use a rag or paper towel to spray TSP onto the door. This spray will remove all dust and debris from the door, creating a clean surface for painting. Cover door edges and metal hardware with washi tape or blue painter’s tape.

Step 3: Open the can of paint and mix it with a paint stirrer. (It is beneficial to keep the paint stirrer nearby to stir occasionally as you work.)

Step 4: Apply paint to a foam brush. Create even strokes of paint that go with the grain of the wood. Cover the door with one full coat of paint, and let it dry for 4 hours. (If the foam brush begins to disintegrate, discard and use a new brush.)

Step 5: After drying for 4 hours, apply a second coat of paint and let dry again. The door is now ready to be put back on its hinges!

Step 6: Wait three days before continuing this tutorial, as the paint needs to set. Then, prime the chalkboard paint by using the long edge of a piece of chalk to cover the entire door with chalk. Take the eraser and erase over the whole thing. This is a critical step for chalkboard paint so that the first thing you write doesn’t imprint. Your door is ready to be used! Leave important messages, write down a favorite quote, or lay out your week of meals. Having this board in our kitchen (where our door opens into) is going to be so much fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

How To Sew A Drawstring Bag

It’s been raining in Philly lately, which until recently would have been a real bummer. Now I get to spend time working on my rain project! (In case you missed it, I’m teaching myself how to sew.) My first project last week was sewing a table cloth for our dining table. I found a great black linen fabric at Jo-Ann Fabric, and I am really happy with how it turned out.

A few days later, I decided to up my sewing game and make a drawstring bag. I again found the fabric (and string) from Jo-Ann. I knew I’d need a pattern to work from, and Purl Soho had a beautiful pattern tutorial that I decided to use. This project was easier than the table cloth in some ways (less fabric to manage), and harder in others (more intricate details in the sewing). I’ve learned something new about sewing in both of these projects, and I’m pretty excited to continue learning more. Next up: a cafe apron! I’ve already picked out my fabric, and it’s sitting pre-washed and ironed by the sewing machine.

I’m not going to write out a DIY tutorial for this drawstring bag because 1) I followed Purl Soho’s directions almost completely, and 2) I don’t feel strong enough in my sewing skills yet to be able to relay a project in my own words. If you’d like to make a bag like this one, head over to Purl Soho for their tutorial!

PS) Purl Soho recommends using this drawstring bag for shoes, but I say it can be used for all kinds of things. Use it in your travel suitcase for more delicate items, wrap a gift in it, or use it as your knitting bag! It’s versatile and fun to make. Happy sewing!

Rain Project

A few weeks back, I temporarily inherited a sewing machine that’s been in my family for over 30 years. I say temporarily because it’s my mom’s sewing machine. My grandpa–who was a custom tailor at Bergdorf Goodman–sewed many a things on this machine for my sister and me growing up. If you haven’t realized through reading Scissors & Sage yet, my grandparents have been a big influence on the person I am becoming. Their values and morals–and good taste in music and in food–shaped me over the many years they came over to help take care of us.

When my dad dug out this sewing machine from our basement at home and brought it down to Philly, we hesitantly set it up on my drafting table, plugged it in, and flipped the switch. The light came on and it was ready to be used–almost as if it were waiting to be used. We read through the instruction manual and learned the basics. I’ve since tested out a few stitches on scrap fabric, but now I want to really get going with it.

That’s where my rain project comes in. The point of a rain project is to choose something that you have been wanting to get started on, but haven’t found the right moment for. It should be a project that is both ongoing and has no deadline. Work on it on days that it is raining, and time spent indoors feels cozy and right. It could be a new skill, like learning to sew, or knitting a big blanket for the first time. It could even be teaching yourself how to bake, working your way through a cookbook, or organizing every closet in your home. It’s up to you. The only requirement is that you take it nice and slow. Your rain project might turn into a snow project (yay snow days), and then back to a rain project come spring.

I’ll certainly be reporting back regarding my sewing progress. I have two projects in mind that I think will be good for a beginner like myself. (Sixth grade sewing club feels mighty far away right now.) Do you sew? Do you have any patterns that you’ve found especially satisfying and fun? Please send them my way!

Will you be joining me in your own rain project?

Cozy Fall Favorites

I’ve always said that fall is my favorite season, but it wasn’t until this past week that I pinpointed exactly why it’s my favorite season. For starters, I love the transition from long, hot summer days to slightly shorter, crisper fall days. Trees begin to change, and these vibrant colors are some of the best out there.

Fall is the season where we start our migration back into our homes after going out and being explorers for the summer–explorers in our gardens, towns, cities. We quiet ourselves as we embrace this change, and learn from nature just how beautiful a time of transition can really be. We indulge in simple pleasures, and refocus on what’s important. It’s our chance to turn over a new leaf.

When I write posts like this one, I tend to look outward for inspiration. This week, I thought I’d look inward. Scissors & Sage is two years old now, and I have a lot of really fun blog posts to show for my time here! Below, you’ll find a few of my favorite projects and recipes that embrace fall in all its cozy glory.

Nothing says fall like this trio: hot tea, ceramic mug, and knit coaster. Coziness is just oozing out of this picture! Learn to knit this coaster here. It’d make a beautiful gift set.

Looking to knit something wearable, instead? This cowl is a quick project with big results–perfect for fall layering.

It’s now okay to turn the oven back on. Wahoo! These mile-high coffee cake muffins are a real crowd-pleaser, and will provide a nice transition back into baking again.

Snuggle up with one of these homemade soy wax candles. They’re perfect for any room of your home.

Believe it or not, Halloween season is almost upon us. These spooky chocolate cake doughnuts are festive and pretty tasty.

It’s a perfect time to check-in with your recipe box. Mine, from Rifle Paper Co., fills me with a lot of joy. Start simmering those stews, people!

Let fall colors guide your crafting this season. These DIY leaf flowers make a beautiful centerpiece, and are a definite conversation-starter.

Felt is a great crafting material for cooler months. I made this two-pocket cell phone sleeve using gift packaging from Madewell!

There are a few more things on my mind this week:

  1. I recently discovered a company called Parachute. Have you heard of them? Their website and blog focuses on all-things sleeping. From selling luxurious bedding hand-crafted in Italy, to blogging about how to choose the right pillow, they’ve got it covered. And they cover it well.
  2. It’s time to try something new. I’ve got a few new crafting techniques and projects I’m interested in testing out soon, and I’m really excited about them. Our new apartment is the perfect blank canvas! Are you hoping to start a certain project soon?
  3. I don’t usually drink caffeine, but settling into a good book or knitting project with a chai tea latte sounds pretty excellent right about now. My favorite is Oregon Chai’s powdered mix.

What are you doing to get ready for fall? Are you excited, or are you already missing summer?

100th Blog Post & GIVEAWAY!

I thought I’d celebrate my 100th blog post (!!!) and the end of summer with a giveaway. It’s thanks to you readers that I continue to enjoy blogging about my various projects, so it’s high time for me to give back! I’ve been a bit MIA this summer between our trip to Greece and moving to a new apartment in Philly. All of our belongings have been in boxes for what feels like weeks now. I’m still trying to pin down my crafting supplies and baking ingredients. They’re here somewhere…

For this giveaway, I’ve teamed up with Sticky9 once again. I absolutely love this company. (Click here to see my last giveaway with them in January.) Their printed matte photos are high-quality, and who doesn’t like to physically hold pictures these days? It’s a rarity, and it’s a shame. I’ve combatted that by creating a DIY memory game using our photos from Greece.

My favorite part of this project is that you can use photos from any kind of life event, trip, or celebration. You can create the game for yourself, or give it to someone special. The photos could be of a special birthday, a newly engaged couple, a vacation, a beloved pet or child, you name it. Plus, this game is well-suited for most anyone–from a young child to a grandparent.

Anne and I have been loving our game because it brings back so many great memories. The supplies and game rules are simple, so let’s get to it.

DIY Photo Memory Game

Materials:

  • 13 unique photographs, each printed twice
  • 1 title photo to represent the game*

*Sticky9 Square Prints come in sets of 27. This is perfect: 13 photos (2x) + one extra for the title photo.

Rules (for two players):

  1. Turn all photos upside down on the floor. Scatter the pairs randomly to create either a grid (easier) or a collage (harder) of photos.
  2. The first player turns over two cards at random. If they don’t match, turn them back over for the second player’s turn. If they do match, put them to the side and play again. Continue your turn until you turn over two cards that do not match.
  3. Continue playing until no cards remain. The person with the most matched sets wins.
  4. Optional:  Play best of three to determine who will wash dishes after dinner, walk the dog early in the morning, or do the laundry next.

Like I said, this game is great for anyone. It can help children learn (especially if it’s pictures of them growing up), and it’s wonderful for adults and older adults to practice those working memory skills. Most importantly, it’s plain old fun!

One lucky winner will win a set of Sticky9 Square Prints to make their own DIY memory game. It’d be perfect for the next time you have friends over for drinks or host a game night. Help me celebrate my 100th post on Scissors & Sage, the end of summer, and YOU!

To enter, leave a comment below telling me what photos you’d use for your memory game. Let me know! I’ll email the randomly-selected winner on Monday, September 21st.

Happy commenting!

PS) Can’t wait to find out if you’ve won?  Visit Sticky9 now to pick out your very own Square Prints or one of their other awesome products!