Never Take Martha’s Name in Vain {Sea Shell Wreath}

I’m baaaaack!

This post is aptly named for one specific reason. I had wanted to make a beautiful seashell wreath for our front door, to enjoy during the summertime. I found a great, and seemingly simple, tutorial with a video on Martha Stewart’s website. It seemed straight forward enough. Seemed is the keyword in that sentence. Here is my interpretation of the steps required:

Step One: start with a metal filled, straw wreath base. This was my first mistake. I can see why it would help, in Martha’s tutorial, but for me it just made a huge mess. My straw wreath base left bits and pieces in its wake. I rarely have to vacuum post-crafting and I had to do it twice. This could have been the wreath that I purchased, as it seemed to molt as soon as it left its packaging. It did provide a great amount of support and flatter surface for the shells, though. So there’s that, right?

Step Two: using crafting tacky glue, begin placing your shells on the wreath form. Here’s where I lost it. I began this project the week before, creating a first layer of shells. It was a sticky mess and I lost interest pretty quick, considering that though tacky glue holds a bit more permanently than other types of glue, it also takes longer to dry. They aren’t immediately bonded to the wreath, so keeping them in one place and not sliding around or falling off was nearly impossible. I left the wreath half-completed, like the picture below, for a good week or so. I just didn’t have the willpower to glue and hold, while still trying to add more shells.

This is how the wreath stayed during that week, until I finally gave up with the tutorial directions and went out on my own!

This is how the wreath stayed during that week, until I finally gave up with the tutorial directions and went out on my own!

Step Three: Try again a week later with failed results. Continue to try to add layers of shells on top of the original shells. Fill in the creases where you can. When I started out, I thought that maybe my patience level had returned and I could take on the sticky mess once again. But as I continued, I realized this wasn’t so. Which leads me to my next step in this tutorial.

Step Four: Take the good lady Martha’s name in vain. I should have never said it and I paid the price. I wrote a caption for the above picture, before continuing with the project. It doomed me. I said, “Dear Martha Stewart, I tried your way, and it’s a sticky mess. Now this sucker will be done my way.” And with several sticks of hot glue and my trusty hot glue gun, I did finally complete this project. It took several hours and there was something harmed in the process.

My poor thumb. This sucker stuck with me all week, what a frustrating place to burn yourself on your low-heat, hot glue gun.

My poor thumb. 

 

This sucker stuck with me all week, what a frustrating place to burn yourself on your low-heat, hot glue gun. Right at the end of the project, I dripped a healthy gob of hot glue directly onto my finger. It hurt so badly, I realized immediately that it was dear Martha punishing me for speaking poorly of her tutorial. But there’s always a silver lining, right? The wreath did get finished, it is a million pounds heavier, and is just waiting for summer to be hung on our front door. What’s also funny is, that about the time I was finishing this project, a friend of mine was sending me some awesome info on a place to pick up some beachy items. She knows me so well!

Perfect summer door accessory.

Perfect summer door accessory.

 

So, overall, this project only cost me about $5 with the wreath form and the glue sticks. The shells are slowly decreasing my large collection that was going to waste. Was it worth my thumb being burned? I think so.

 

XOXO,

Ashley

 

 

Advertisements

Shelling Out For a New Project {Wall Letters}

Hello everyone!

Last night, while watching some old Walking Dead episodes, I decided to continue my shell-crafting binge. I picked up one of these paper mache letters at our local JoAnn’s just the other day ($4.50 with a 40% off coupon). I still have lots of project ideas for my future beachy office, so I figured why not start another! What I didn’t realize is that my obsessive side would seek absolute perfection and not allow any paper mache to show under the shells. This project took me about two Walking Dead episodes, which means it took about two hours total.

 

First, start with your empty letter.

So this is how it started. Seems easy enough, very straight forward.

So this is how it started. Seems easy enough, very straight forward.

 

Then, put out all the shells you intend to use. It’s easiest to sort them by size or shape, helps keep it organized. This way, when you have a space to fill, you can just quickly pick a larger or smaller shell to use.

 

Here are just a few of the shells I used. I set them out first, then started organizing.

Here are just a few of the shells I used. I set them out first, then started organizing.

 

Once you’re all organized and ready to go, heat up that glue gun and get to work! This is probably the hardest and most tedious part. I wanted to make sure that my letter wasn’t just adequately covered, but completely covered (except for the back so that I had a flat surface to mount it to a wall). I used a TON of hot glue. I mean really, I used a TON. This letter ended up being pretty hefty with the weight of the shells and the weight of the glue. I didn’t want any shells to fall off, so I used both glue on the shell directly and for some shells that were larger, I glued around the sides once it was already placed. And, after a couple hours and many zombies, I had a finished F.

 

There's a joke in there somewhere, I'm just not sure where.

There’s a joke in there somewhere, I’m just not sure where.

 

I’m going to leave it natural for now, but I may decide to spray it all one color for uniformity. We’ll see, I’m still not sure! Next up, a summer wreath with….you guessed it…shells!

 

XOXO,

Ashley

 

PS- Because of the coupon, and the fact that I already had the shells and the glue, this project cost me under $3. Total score.

A Plan Full of Sand {Redoing My Office}

Hey all,

Maybe it was the beach trip, or my obsession with the sea, but I’ve finally decided what to do with my office. I’ve been working on different little projects to use in my office (like the seashells), and I’ve decided to go nautical for my office. It’s comforting, casual, and a perfect style for a small room like my office. I’ve even gone so far as to make a Pinterest board with ideas. Here are a few of my pinned ideas, some of which may have to wait until I have plenty of time to devote to the cause.

IMG_4408

These frames are very driftwood inspired. They’d look great with either some nature shots from the beach or just happy snapshots. Plus, the prices aren’t awful for great frames (at Target: $16.99 for the large, $12.99 for the small). 

 

IMG_4403

This might be taking it a bit too literally, but I love the shape of these ceramic replica urchins. They suggest using these as candle holders, but I think they would look great on my white desk with pencils and markers (Target again, thanks Threshold, $16.99 for the big, $5.99 for the small).

 

IMG_4405

A little sea glass never hurt anyone, right? The color might not be right for these guys, but I definitely like the style and shape. Maybe if they were just plain, clear glass (Target, $19.99 and $14.99).

 

IMG_4411

Might not be completely beach inspired but here me out. I love peg boards and pin boards, obviously. I also love a subtle chevron and Nate Berkus. So a couple of these on a wall will add texture and interest to my ever full idea wall.

 

IMG_4440

Another possibly too literal beach-themed option. I found this urchin lamp at TjMaxx for $30. He’s adorable and I love the burlap-textured lampshade. I didn’t buy him, but I am getting a twinge of regret for not taking him with me.

 

Screen shot 2013-03-30 at 10.49.55 AM

I might have to do a treatment of white, peeling paint on some of the furniture in my office. Make it look more weathered and aged by the sea.

 

The biggest change for the office will be the wall color. It's currently a sad, dirty green from the previous owners. This is the perfect shade of blue-green, San Clemente Teal 730 (Benjamin Moore).

The biggest change for the office will be the wall color. It’s currently a sad, dirty green from the previous owners. This is the perfect shade of blue-green, San Clemente Teal 730 (Benjamin Moore).

So, too themey? Maybe. But you don’t have to work there, I do! And I always seem to find peace by the sea. That means an office with a sea theme is in my future. What do you think? Plus, I may have already started some sea themed projects for the room-to-be…you’ll just have to wait for the tutorial on those!

 

XOXO,

Ashley