vintage step stool

    A few weeks ago I went to the library to get yet another stack of a dozen books I had put on hold (it’s a trend, I go once or twice a week), and I was excited to see The Handbuilt Home in the pile.

    Jared and I have both been frequent visitors to Ana White’s site in the last few months. She has hundreds of plans for wood working projects -many of which are easy enough for beginners (and yet don’t look like beginner projects).

    With this last weekend being Canada Day Jared had a couple of extra days off so he completed three projects from the book! I hope to share all of them at some point, but today I want to show you the vintage step stool (free plans available here on Ana’s site, or in the book). I gave you a little preview of the stool a few days ago, so without further ado:

    Jared cut out and put this beautiful vintage-looking guy together and I painted him in Bali Hai (by CIL paint) -I don’t think the color shows up completely accurately on these photos, it was too bright out, but I love the color. Once I finished painting it I took one of my chalk ink edgers in Old Road (this one) and inked around the edges. The inking gave it the perfect vintage feel, so glad I did that step.

    Yeah, so I kind of love this vintage-looking stool, I can already tell it’s going to be a great photography prop, not to mention really useful in the kitchen.

    I can’t wait to share the other projects we’ve been working on!

    with love,



    a chevron quilt

    I’ve already crossed something off of my list of twenty-seven things! I bought the material for this quilt on my birthday and spent the next few days sewing it up! It’s definitely not perfect by any means but I’m still pretty proud of it.

    Now my only problem is figuring out what to do with it – I wanted my first quilt to be a small one in case I messed up really bad (and because the fabric was expensive), I was hoping I would be able to convince Raeca to trade me for her blanket that she’s so attached to but no such luck.

    I got the idea from this quilt from this pin I saw on Pinterest, it didn’t look too hard but I had never sewn a quilt before so I picked up the book Quilting Modern to teach me some of the quilting basics. I just started by cutting 6.5″ squares and then cutting them in half into triangles, and then sewing one grey and one teal triangle together and then kept sewing. With help from the Quilting Modern book and this tutorial for binding on YouTube I just figured it out as I went along and somehow ended up with this.

    Overall I’m very pleased with the end result and am already planning my next quilts -I want to make one throw sized one for the couch/tv watching and another throw sized one for Raeca, I want hers to be a memory quilt similar to this one but with these colors -we’ll see if that happens!

    What have you been making lately?

    Oh and with the whole Google Reader thing disappearing, if you care to you can follow my blog with bloglovin.

    with love,



    diy pumpkin spice scrub

    I made this delicious pumpkin spice body scrub a few weeks ago and it smells just like the holidays. It is quick and simple to make and can be wrapped up into the perfect gift.

    All you need to make it:

    2 cups brown sugar
    1 cup white sugar
    3 tbsp pumpkin pie spice*
    1 cup grapeseed oil
    1/4 cup olive oil

    Combine all the ingredients, put it into a cute jar, add some ribbon or lace and add the instructions:

    Apply to hands above the sink. Scrub thoroughly for 2-3 minutes. When done scrubbing rinse briefly with lukewarm water and pat dry. Apply your favorite moisturizer.

    *If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice you can make your own:

    2 tbsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    2 tsp ginger
    1 tsp all spice
    1 tsp cloves

    This smells so good you might just want to make some for yourself.

    with love,


    recycled t-shirt dress

    A few weeks ago I made Raeca this cute dress out of 2 shirts -one of mine and one of Jared’s. She loves to wear it. I wish I would have been able to get a full length shot but this girl is high energy and doesn’t stands still long enough these days for me to get a good shot. 🙁

    I found the pattern online and it was so easy to follow, I actually made two! This one was the second one I made, the first one is a long sleeve that Rae uses as a nightgown. This was my first time successfully making an article of clothing (with the exception of pajama pants back in high school) and it has given me the confidence to try something else soon!

    What I love about this dress is that I wore that shirt when I was pregnant with Rae, and now that is is functional for her, I don’t need to get rid of it!

    Back in the pregnancy days:

    I also wore it in Africa back at the beginning of the year (please excuse the weird colors of this photo):

    If you are looking for a simple sewing project to make for a little girl I would definitely recommend this one. It only takes about two hours to complete (which is a lot shorter than many sewing projects). If you do try it let me know, I’d love to see a photo!

    with love,


    our diy advent calendar

    This year I decided to make our very first advent calendar. My family didn’t have/do advent calendars when I was growing up. I have faint memories of my Grandma buying me one of those advent calendars that you can buy at Walmart where you get to punch out a chocolate each day late in December when it was on sale. I remember thinking that was great because then I could eat all the chocolates up to the current date. Anyway, I don’t think that really counts.

    This year I saw that Silhouette was selling this advent calendar for $40.

    I figured I could make something similar myself for less than $40, and I did. I actually didn’t have to buy anything for this project, I had it all on hand (I love it when that happens).

    My Grandma had an auction awhile back and my Mom snagged these beauties:

    I ended up peeling off the cardboard photos, spray painting the frames, added some baker’s twine string secured by some gold thumbtacks, stenciled numbers onto some tags, attached them to the string via a paperclip and used another tag behind with the activity for each day and voila:

    It’s not perfect, but I love it. And since I didn’t have to buy anything to make it I love it even more.

    I looked on the internet for some ideas of what we could do each day and I’ve included our list below (whether or not we actually do them all or do them on the right day remains to be seen). Most of them are for the three of us to do together, we know some of our family get-togethers that are happening before Christmas so I threw them in there since those will probably take up most of our day:

    1. put up the Christmas tree
    2. make gifts for the grandparents
    3. make snowflakes
    4. wrap gifts
    5. make caramel popcorn
    6. unwrap a new book to read
    7. buy a nutcracker and stockings
    8. have dinner by candlelight
    9. take a drive to see Christmas lights
    10. make homemade ornaments
    11. hang stockings
    12. watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    13. decorate sugar cookies
    14. make a gingerbread house
    15. make a popcorn string
    16. visit familiy
    17. youth leader Christmas party
    18. make peppernuts
    19. make a snow globe
    20. take treats to neighbors
    21. Hamm Christmas
    22. go sledding
    23. Wiebe Christmas
    24. read the story of the Birth of Christ

    Do you have an advent calendar tradition? I would love to hear it!

    with love,


    hand stamped jewelry diy

    This weekend I decided to start a little Christmas series of tutorials for homemade gifts. My hope is that they would be gifts that you would love to give and receive and don’t scream homemade in a bad way.

    My goal is to share at least one gift idea a week, and I’m starting it off with this hand stamped jewelry tutorial.

    We have now released two different limited edition necklaces through Once Was Lost in the last few weeks and I thought I would share a little DIY on how to stamp your own jewelry. I checked out a few different tutorials online and this one was the one that I followed closest.

    A few notes about the supplies . . .

    • I used a wet wipe instead of a polishing pad, I think a polishing pad would probably work better but I do add a little trick that worked for me while using the wet wipe in the tutorial
    • You can buy the steel blocks from craft stores (they are pretty expensive) or if you are like me and have an awesome father-in-law that works with metal you can get him to make you one 🙂
    • I bought my metal blank online but I have seen many tutorials that just use washers
    • The size of my stamp set is 3/32″

    Now onto the tutorial:

    First, place your metal blank on your steel block. I like to use painters tape so my blank doesn’t move and I often use it as a guide to make sure my letters are straight. For this particular blank I was trying to follow the curve of the heart so the tape was just used to keep my blank secure.

    I like to start at the end of the word when stamping. Be sure to hold your stamp as straight up and down as possible so you stamp the whole letter on.

    A tip if you are stamping starting with the last letter: write your word or phrase on a piece of paper so you don’t mess up the spelling. It’s a lot harder to spell backwards.

    A couple more shots of the letters as they were stamped:

    Once the stamping was completed:

    Then I used the sharpie to go over the letters I just stamped. Once they were all traced over I used the wet wipe to get rid of most of the black marker, just leaving some in the cracks to help the word show up more.

    With the wet wipe I find it works best for me to rub the it with the wet wipe a few times first and then I rub my thumb over it until most of the black is gone.

    After I finished wiping:

    The difference the black marker makes:

    My final product:

    If you decide to make your own hand stamped jewelry I would love to see it so feel free to send me a link.

    If you are interested in buying a necklace from Once Was Lost remember that 50% of the proceeds go to couples in the process of adopting internationally.

    with love,


    diy bookpage covered canvas

    Today I thought I would share a little DIY with you that I use a lot.

    Ninety percent of the canvases that I make are made with book pages or hymn paper as a background so here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make one yourself.

    I can usually find hymn book for sale at local thrift stores for $0.10-$2 a piece.

    Let it dry and ta-da, you have a canvas covered in paper!

    In the next few weeks I plan on showing you how I take a canvas from a page covered canvas to one like this:

    I also use this method for a variety of different art projects that I do, including pages in my art journal.

    with love,


    wooden growth chart diy

    I have been wanting to make my own old and weathered looking growth chart ever since I came across this DIY on Pinterest a while back. I knew I wanted to find a board that had already been used and had some character and last week I found one!

    I love the tutorial that I followed but made my own changes (making it quicker, which is much easier for my craft ADD), so I thought I would share my own process in case there is anyone else like me that needs to do quick crafts in order to keep interested. I need to appologize about the quality of some of the photos. I got lazy and used my phone for some of them, and a lot of the work was done in the pre-sun hours of the day (before Raeca wakes up so I can actually get some work done).

    Here he is in his very blurry iPhone photo quality. Just a regular ole’ board with some old nail holes and some cool knots.

    The best thing about the board? The price . . .  yeah that says 25 cents:

    The first thing I did was stain my wood.

    Then I used my Silhouette to cut out some chevron shapes onto white scrapbooking paper. I found the chevron through Google images and then traced it in Silhouette Studio. I sprayed a temporary adhesive to the back of all the chevron shapes except one. The one without the spray was used as my spacer. It was hard for me to remember in the early morning hours that the places where I put the paper would actually be wood in the end and the wood pieces were going to be white. I found it easiest to start at the top of my board and alternated the temporarily tacky paper with wooden spaces.

    The board once I had all the papers down.

    As I began to paint the papers started to curl a bit and some of the paint did bleed a bit. That was fine with me though because I was planning on sanding it and didn’t care if I had crisp lines. I waited a minute or two after painting my last chevron on before peeling off all the papers. Side note: If I had wanted lines that were crisp, I could have easily cut the chevron pieces out of contact paper or vinyl instead, that would have reduced most of the bleeding

    I then used my Silhouette to cut out dashes and numbers 1 through 5. I sprayed the back of them again with my glue and while I was waiting a few minutes for the glue to dry (so it would temporarily adhere and not be permanent) I got out the measuring tape and measured where I wanted my foot markings. I started with the bottom of the board being at about 10 inches so I would have room to paint the one foot mark on. I started out by painting the dashes in black.

    And then moved on to the numbers. I didn’t wait for the dashes to completely dry because I am impatient (remember crafting ADD), plus since I was going to sand it down I didn’t care if I peeled of some paint (although it didn’t peel off anyway).

    After my chevrons, dashes and numbers were painted on this is what she looked like (hmm, interesting, the board started out as a he and has now progressed to a she, not sure why I am even subscribing a gender to a wooden board). You can see some of the parts where my white from the chevron bled through. No biggie, I fixed most of that in the next step.

    And here she is all sanded down:

    To attach the board to the wall I used mirror mounting tape that I found at Walmart.

    I ended up using manila tags and regular ole’ gold thumbtacks to write her growth onto. I thought about using nails but since I put the chart up in Raeca’s room I didn’t want anything that she could bump into and get hurt with. The thumbtacks are flush to the wood so I don’t have to worry about that. Apparently I don’t have her height at one year written down, I’m going to have to check with the doctors office yet and see if they can give me that info.

    If I would have bought new wood I probably would have bought something a little longer -this only goes up a little past 5 feet, which isn’t as tall as I would ideally like it.

    I am having a table at a local craft show next month and have thought about making a few of these up, but I’m not sure if others would love it as much as I do. 🙂

    I am excited to use this throughout the years!

    You can check out more DIY’s here.

    with love,

    Linking up here.


    instagram canvas diy

    It’s no secret that Instagram is my favorite app for my phone (@chantelklassen if you want to find me). I’ve been using it a lot to take photos this summer (mostly photos of Raeca). I’ve used many of the photos in my Project Life and I am hoping to make a photo book at the end of the year with my Instagram photos but I wanted a creative way to enlarge one image. I looked through Pinterest and saw this post which spurred me on to take the idea and make it my own.

    I love the look of it and it cost me less than $5!

    I love this photo of Raeca in the swing because swinging has been her obsession all summer, it just seemed fitting to enlarge this photo.

    Here is how I did it:

    1. I opened up my image in Photoshop (I have CS4 if you have a different version the instructions may vary a little), then I created a new file in PS that was 12 x 18 (though my canvas was 12 x 16 I was getting my photo printed at Costco and they don’t print 12 x 16 but they do print 12 x 18, if the lab where you are getting your photo printed does 12 x 16 photos make your file that size)
    2. In my new 12 x 18 file I used the shape tool to draw a circle in the middle that filled most of the width of my file (tip: in order to get a perfect circle hold down the shift button while making your shape).
    3. I copied and pasted my Instagram photo into my 12 x 18 file, the photo was smaller than the circle I had drawn and looked like this:
    4. I selected the photo and pulled it to make it bigger (once again, if you hold down shift while doing this it will keep your proportions). I made it big enough that none of my circle was left showing.
    5. Next I selected  my photo layer and created a clipping mask (Layer > Create Clipping Mask or Alt+Ctrl+G) and my photo image conformed to my circle, like so:
    6. I then sent it off to Costco to get printed.
    7. Once I got my photo I cut it down so it was the size that I needed (12 x 16).
    8. I then applied a coat of Mod Podge onto my canvas, laid my photo down on top of it and then added a coat of Mod Podge on top of the photo.
    9. After it dried my canvas was ready to be displayed in Raeca’s room:

    I love having it on her dresser and she often looks at it and talks about the swing. It’s a good reminder of what we did a lot of this summer.

    with love,


    lampshade re-do

    Hi Friend! I hope you had an excellent Labor Day weekend! (What Labor Day is I really have no idea, I just love any day that lets Jared stay home from work!)

    Remember me mentioning in this post how I really needed to give this lampshade a new cover? Well, I finally did it!

    I looked through my stash of fabric and found this yellow and cream pattern that I really liked:

    Once I decided on the fabric I was going to use I knew it wouldn’t look good with the blue lamp base so that got a few coats of white spray paint as well.

    I don’t think the colors really go well in Raeca’s room . . . it would work better in the boys room I have been designing in my head for a few months. But until we know if there will be a little boy joining our family it will stay in Rae’s room.

    I thought about sharing the complete tutorial but the one that I followed is already online and very useful, you can check it out here, plus I always get into my crafts and forget to take photo of every step along the way. Maybe in the future I’ll do a step-by-step diy.

    I like the color of the lamp and shade so much better now.

    I’m also planning on doing posts on these canvases in the future, maybe I’ll do a step-by-step diy for one of them!

    with love,

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