Thursday, February 12, 2015

JC&Me Boutique

So excited to announce my latest business adventure!  It's taken a lot of time and hard work to get it off the ground.  I've put my crafts and projects to the side for awhile but it is worth it.

I am now the full owner (model, photographer, buyer, accountant, web designer....) of JC&Me Boutique.  So many job titles!  We carry women's boutique fashions without the big name boutique prices.  I would love for you to check it out.

My website is  You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for sales, contests and the latest updates.

For a limited time only you can get 20% off your first order!  Enter coupon code "atozandj" at checkout for the discount!  Check out a few of our newest items below!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wood Growth Chart

This project is a little late.  It is something I have planned on doing for the last 3 years and just kept putting off.  Finally after my youngest son ripped the paper chart we have I decided I had to get something more permanent. I have seen all kinds of different options on Pinterest that were all simple enough to make but I just could never find one that really struck my interest.  So combining a few different ideas I came up with my own.

I planned to make a tutorial out of this but it took a lot of trial and error before I finally got it complete and I'm not sure I could tell you all the steps it actually took.  I will tell you how it ideally would have gone.  If you want to try to take this on make sure you do a trial run on a scrap piece of wood!

I started by measuring out the ruler and marking every inch.  Then I took a router with a round bit and routed out the lines.  This surprisingly was the easiest step of the whole process.  I expected it to be the hard part since I have never used a router before.

Next I printed the numbers out to the size I wanted.  Then I took a pencil and scribbled on the back side of each number.  Place the number with the pencil scribbles down on the wood where you want it located and use a pen and trace the number.  The pencil lead will transfer from the back of the number to the wood so you have an outline of your number.

I used a dremel tool to route out the numbers.  I did practice this on a scrap piece of wood before doing it.  I found the easiest way to do it was to gradually work deeper and do several shallow passes.  Doing it this way makes it easier to not lose control of the dremel and get out of the marked lines.

After this was complete I sanded down the surface, starting with an 80 grit sand paper and working up to 220 grit to give it a smooth finished surface.

Finally, the step I thought would be the easiest, and boy was I wrong!  Staining...  First mistake, I used maple wood.  Very hard wood that does not take stain well and since I planned to make it dark this just didn't work.  I went through 4 different finishes wiping off, sanding off, wiping off and finally giving up trying to get it as dark as I wanted.  The wood wasn't the only issue.  The routed out lines and numbers also pooled stain and the amount of time it would take to get back to it to clean out the pooled spots made streaks when I would try to fix it.  So I really don't know how I got to this final finish.  It isn't exactly what I wanted but it will work.

So tip...if you want it darker use a darker wood to start with!

I applied a satin poly to the top to protect the wood and finally it is complete!

I can't wait to get it mounted and my kids marks all over it :)

Mirror Makeover

Finally!  Time to update my guest bathroom!  For my first project I updated the old boring mirror with some glass tile.  It turned out amazing!

What you need:
-Sand paper (80 grit)
-1" Mesh mounted tile
-Painters Tape
-2 part clear Epoxy Glue (I used 2.5 tubes of gorilla glue)
-Unsanded Tile Grout (and grouting supplies)

Step 1: Lightly sand the edges of the mirror.  Be sure only to sand the area the tile will be covering.  You only need to scratch it up a bit to be sure the glue adheres.

Step 2: Cut the mesh on the tile to the desired boarder size.  Mine is 3".  Be sure to trim the edges of the mesh as close to the tiles as possible.

Step 3: Mix 2 part epoxy.  Be sure to read the directions for the glue!  You won't want to mix all of it at once or it will set before you are able to use it all.   Apply glue to the back of the tile and position on mirror.  You have a few minutes to adjust the tile position before it sets.

This was the hardest part of this project.  Since I did this with my mirror still on the wall the tile would slide out of position so I had to hold it for about 15 minutes, which got really tiring.  After the first few pieces my husband recommended painters tape to help hold it in place, brilliant!  So instead of holding it for 15 minutes I held it for maybe 5 until the glue started getting tacky then let the painters tape do the rest.

Once complete let the glue cure for the recommended time in the directions.  I think it was 24 hours.

Step 4: Grout. Be sure to use unsanded grout if you are using glass tile, sanded will scratch the surface of glass tiles.

Using painters tape, tape of the inner side of the mirror where it meets the tile.  This will help ensure a clean grout line along the edges.  You may also want to to it at the wall if you are doing this with the mirror still mounted.  As you can see in my picture the grout got on the wall and made a bit of a mess but as this is just step one in my bathroom remodel, paint is coming very soon!

Mix grout in a large bucket and using grout float apply to tile.  Be sure you push it down into the cracks and wipe away excess.  Use a sponge to clean surface.  I recommend searching youtube for a video on how to grout before taking this on.  It's not difficult but needs to be done correctly.

Peel tape from mirror before the grout is completely dry.

Step 5: Once grout has cured for recommended time on the package seal the grout to help prevent any mold growing in the wet bathroom environment.

And you are done!

Project number 2... Floor tile!  I can't wait!

Update:  1 year later and the mirror still looks great!  Just a change of wall color! I'm sanding and painting the doors dark grey next!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wood Name Blocks

Onto baby gift #3 for 2013!  I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out of friends to make things for. They are the perfect excuse for some new crafty project I have been wanting to try.  This time I decided to make Wooden Name Blocks and I have to say it is probably the most fun project I have completed so far.

What you will need:
(1) 2x4 piece of lumber (try to pick one with the least blemishes, knots, splinters, etc.)
Tape measure
Saw (some places may be willing to cut it for you)
Electric Sander (you could use just sanding paper but it would take a long time)
Scrapbook paper
Paint Brush
Glossy Mod Podge
Spray Sealant

Step 1: Determine the pattern for your wood blocks.  I sketched it out on a piece of paper first so I had and idea of what I wanted the scale and pattern to be.  From this I determined my blocks would be: 6", 5" and 4".  I also added the horizontal block at 8" (the width of the 2 blocks sitting on top).

Step 2: Measure and cut your wood to the predetermined lengths.  The edges will be rough, so take a sander to them and give the wood rounded edges.  I used a vice to keep the blocks of wood in place while I sanded them.

Step 3: Paint the wood and let dry.  I used an acrylic paint I purchased at Michael's.

Steps 2 & 3

Step 4: While I was waiting for the paint to dry I cut out the scrapbook paper for the background.  I found that rounding the corners of the paper made it blend a little better.

Step 5: Apply a thick coat of mod podge to the back of your scrapbook paper rectangles you cut in step 4 and stick the paper to the wood.  Be sure to get the edges and press out any bubbles or globs of mod podge to make the paper lay as flat as possible.  Let dry.

Step 6:  This step isn't necessary but I liked the look of it.  I sponged a small amount of the paint I used to the edges of the paper to blend them in and give it a more cohesive look.

Steps 4-6

Step 7:  Cut out your letters.  I print the letters out using Microsoft Word then cut them out to make templates.  I then trace them onto the nice scrapbook paper and cut them out again. There are easier ways, like a Cricut (expensive) or purchasing them, but I like to customize.  If you do it my way remember to keep the letters simple, fancy letters are hard to cut out.

Step 8: Apply a tick coat of mod podge to the back of the letters and apply to the face of the block. Once the letters are stuck in place and won't move around apply your first coat of mod podge to the entire block (I didn't do the bottom until the rest of the sides were dry).  Let it dry.  It will go on slightly opaque but will dry clear.

Step 9: Continue to apply coats of mod podge until you reach your desired finished look.  I did 2-3 coats.

Steps 7-9

Step 10: At this point your project is complete.  If you wish, you can apply a spray sealant to get rid of the slight stickiness left from the mod podge.  I didn't do this and my blocks stuck together one day when it got a little to warm in my house.  When I pulled them apart it pulled the mod podge off of the horizontal block.  So, I would recommend not skipping this step to help preserve your hard work.

I hope you have as much fun making them as I did!  I would love to see your final projects.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Harry Potter Crib Mobile

A good friend of mine, whom is a huge Harry Potter fan, welcomed her son Stryder last month.  As a baby gift I wanted to make her something with a Harry Potter theme for the baby room.

I made Harry, Hermione, Ron, Snape, a snitch, Hedwig with Stryder's invitation to Hogwarts and the crests for all 4 houses with felt, glue, stuffing and thread.  I purchased an already mobile on clearance and took it apart covering the hoops with a new fabric and replacing the ribbons to sew the figures onto.  The only thing I was unable to do was find a music box that I could program with the Harry Potter theme song.

The project took quite a bit of time but was an great way to create a personalized gift on a budget.

Jameson had fun playing with the little figures.  He used them as shadow puppets and when he found out they weren't for him he asked me to make one for him. So we introduced Spiderman to the Harry Potter gang :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Aging and Distressing Wood

I designed a nursery for my niece, Kaylee, who just arrived last week.  Since my sister in law didn't find out what she was having I had to wait to make the name for the accent wall.  I stumbled on a Pinterest post on how to make new wood look old and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out and I had everything I needed in my cabinets.

What you need:
White Vinegar
Steel Wool
Paint Brush

First you will want to take a piece of steel wool and put it in a jar with a lid.  Add enough vinegar to cover the top.  Then let it sit for at least 24 hours.  The vinegar and steel wool will interact to create an iron based solution.

When you are ready to begin you will steep some very strong tea.  I ended up making a second batch because I missed the part about it being strong.  I'm not sure if that would have made a difference.

Once the tea is ready you will paint it onto your wood and let it dry.  The tea contains tannic acid that causes a chemical reaction with the steel wool solution.

I let Jameson assist me with painting the tea on and he had a great time. 

Once the tea is dry you will paint on the steel wool solution.  I didn't let Jameson assist in this step.

 When you paint it on it is a clear/light grey color but it begins to darken immediately.

This is the final shade my wood turned.  Depending on the temperature and type of wood you use the color will be different.  Now you just let it dry and the aging process is complete.

I expected the color to be a little more grey but I love the look and love that it was so easy and inexpensive to make.  I decided however I wanted to make it look older so I dug through supplies until I thought would help me distress the wood.

Wood Wax
Wood Stain Touch up Pen
Metal Comb

Jameson had fun with this step!  We took the comb and the end of the spoon and went crazy on the wood, until I felt it looked nice and beat up.  This made some of the light wood under the aged color show through so I took the wood stain touch up pen and colored the deep marks in.  Then I applied the wax as a final finish coat to kind of seal everything.  The wax really brought the wood to life.

I couldn't be happier with the results!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Froggy Valentine Box

For Valentines Day this year a few of the girls at work decided to have a Valentine exchange just like we used to in school.  For my valentine box I grabbed an empty Huggies wipe container, some green and red card stock, a pair of googly eyes and some clear tape.  About an hour later I had a completed frog even though I set out with the plan of making an alligator.  The frog's mouth opens to put the valentines in or you can open the lid for larger items.  Of course Jameson has taken it from me already and keeps feeding the frog random items.

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