A Crafty Map Arrangement

Image via Emmas DesignBlogg

I search for creative art displays as often as I fill my coffee cup (which is very, very often, folks). And after spotting the above crafty map installation, could the search be over?

Never. But it certainly is quite a find. I love the organized chaos of the frames; the strategic placement and imaginative white space. Bonus? The gallery wall seems to frame the modern, white couch perfectly.

To get the look, I'd take any map to your local printer, blow up the image and start mounting the images in a reverse jigsaw-puzzle format.

Cheap, chic and creative. Happy crafting!

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Holiday Extravaganza: 15 Creative Advent Calendars

For some, the holiday season means shopping, eating, baking, wrapping and eating some more. But for me, I enjoy taking time out to make a few memorable crafts with my family and friends. High on my priority list before Dec 1st hits? Advent calendars.

Just for fun (and to inspire my own craft-making!), I’ve rounded up my favorite advent calendars online — all 15 of them! Some are for sale, but most are handmade, homespun and completely inspired. Ready for the round-up?:

  1. With little more than vintage flash cards, paperclips and ribbon, Country Living created a sweet advent garland perfect for children and adults alike.
  2. Christmas craft king Sweet Paul’s advent calendar was created from matchboxes and paper scraps. Genius!
  3. Have a few mini metal tins hanging around? Check out Twig & Thistle’s magnetic holiday advent calendar.
  4. A buyable ($100) wooden advent calendar perfect for gift-giving from Not on the High Street.
  5. With a few craft sticks and origami boxes, channel CraftyNest’s clever take on an advent tree.
  6. Christmas advent cones? Easy peasy.
  7. Garnet Hill’s bringing it this year with two great advent designs: Buckets of Joy advent banner ($24) and Lollipop Tree advent calendar ($68).
  8. Advent pouches? Brilliant!
  9. Create your advent calendar with nothing more than office supplies with Nice Package’s mini envelope advent tree. So simple!
  10. For the typography-lover in your life, Ali Edwards’ font-inspired advent boxes are a sure hit.
  11. The prettiest pegboard I’ve ever seen becomes instant holiday decor with this advent calendar tutorial.
  12. A downloadable advent calendar for the lazy crafter? Yes, please!
  13. From Pottery Barn hails a bucket and branch advent calendar ($300). Pricey, but beautiful.
  14. A-ha! Another downloadable advent calendar. Bonus!
  15. Yuletide excitement in one fell swoop with Uusi’s illustrated advent calendar ($65).

Whew! You’ve got some work to do, friends. If you tackle any of the above holiday crafts, tell us in the comment section! We’d simply love to see your skills!

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Ditch the Tutorial: Products That May Inspire Your Next DIY

Sure, I love a good DIY as much as the next gal, but I often suffer from craft paralysis. You know the drill — you bookmark endless resources, images and tear sheets with good intentions of spending your next weekend in the craft aisle of your local market. Yet life gets in the way and you find your "inspiration folders" growing until you're forced to accept the fact that unless you're gifted a week to yourself with zero responsibilities, you're not likely to get around to that DIY project anytime soon.

When this happens, I often re-set my brain and look elsewhere for inspiration. Forget the craft aisle — these products lie online, in your favorite big box retailer, or in your local thrift shop. With just a few steps, you're bound to find five free minutes to tackle these ideas. Bonus? No instructions necessary!

Idea #1: You've seen a plethora of brass lamps at your favorite thrift shop. Why not grab that serving platter you rarely use (or a flat ceiling medallion), work the hot glue gun and remove the lamp's wiring? Instantly chic, and unique indeed.
p.s. These side tables run for $400 a piece, so if you really can't fathom a five minute DIY, you can still get the look.

Idea #2: Sure, you can drop $65 for each of these beauties, or you can re-purpose a few photo frames you have lying around. Spray paint them white and find a few spare utility hooks or a shelf to do the same. Poof! Framing your everyday shelves, books or vases provide a bold statement and showcase the beauty of your daily objects — on the cheap!

There. Now you're off to a good start. What sort of products inspire you to DIY? Share them below in the comment section!

p.s. If you're stumped, check out Pratt student's Dollar Designs – they never disappoint!

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