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Welcome to Biddle Bits! My name is Sarah & I believe that *anyone* can create amazing things, if you just work on them one step at a time.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Clay Christmas ornaments

While Christmas *is* my favorite holiday, I feel silly making Christmas ornaments in August when it's 90-degrees outside! But...AC Moore is having a sale on Sculpey clay this week (88-cents/pack), so thought this was the perfect time to try my hand at clay ornaments. 
Plus, you could do these for Halloween/Thanksgiving as napkin holders, etc.

Project List:
  • "Oven Bake Clay" (I used Sculpey brand, but others would work just as well. Each pack of clay made approximately 4-5 ornaments)
  • nonstick rolling pin
  • cookie cutters
  • toothpick or a plastic straw
  • clean working space (I used my silpat baking liner, which worked great)
  • Oven 
  • Wax paper
  • Acrylic paint, clear glue, glitter (all are optional)
Step #1: Unwrap 1 pack of clay and roll it flat with your rolling pin. Recommended depth is 1/4". The clay is pretty firm, so it takes a little muscle to roll it flat.

Step #2: Using a cookie cutter, press down on clay to get desired shape, then set aside. Continue rolling/cookie-cuttering with leftover clay, until it's all gone. 

Step #3: Carefully remove shapes from your workspace and put them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Using the end of a toothpick or a plastic straw, make a hole at the top of your ornament, where ribbon or twine can be threaded through.

Step #4: Put your ornaments in the oven, following the baking instructions on the clay package. I baked mine at 275-degrees for 15 minutes.

Step #5: Remove from oven and let cool ~5-10 minutes. Once cooled, thread ribbon/twine/etc through the hole and knot it. If there are any ragged edges, you can either sand those down, or run a fingernail over the edges to knock off the rough spots. (you can see the rough edges on the ball-shaped ornament below, but they came right off, but I forgot to take a picture of the final product!)

Step #6: optional: If you'd like to color your ornaments, you can paint with acrylic paint and/or glitter. Once dry, paint with clear glue to give them a glazed look.

These would be such cute gift-toppers too!

Total cost of the project (9 ornaments): $1.76 
(I only used the white-color clay...the red and green may be for another project!

Has anyone else started Christmas decorations this summer?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wooden Monogram

My name is Sarah, I'm a proud Sorority Alumnae and I love monograms.

So when I ran across pictures of beautiful large wooden monograms for your wall, mantel, front door, etc., I knew I had to have one. ...that is, until I looked at the "finished" ones on etsy and nearly choked at the price. While I LOVED the idea, I just couldn't fork over $150-$200+ for a front door decoration.

Thus, I began an online search for "unfinished wooden monograms" and my heart skipped a beat when I found this lil' puppy for $21 (plus S&H). It's an 18" 3-letter script monogram, unfinished and unpainted. 
I bought it.
un-treated wooden monogram
...and it arrived at my house about a week later.
I'm in love...

I'm still not sure where I'm going to put it, but the painting process has begun.

Project List:
  • fine-grit sandpaper
  • spray paint- primer
  • spray paint - you choose the color
  • polyurethane spray paint - clear
  • Whatever you need to hang it up (ribbon/door hook, etc) - you choose the method.
  • Step #1 - Lightly sand the wooden edges with a fine-grit sandpaper (i used 100-grit, since I had it on-hand) and wipe off the sandpaper dust with a damp cloth. Make sure the wood is completely dry before moving to Step 2. 
  • Step #2 - Spray wood with a light-layer of spray-paint primer, being sure to get all the nooks and crannies (which has proved to be a little difficult). Wait for it to dry, then spray a 2nd light layer. Once dry, repeat the process on the back side of the monogram. Apparently, this wood was very thirsty - it sucked up the paint...so be sure to use plenty of primer! Hang and let dry overnight. Give a light sanding to even things out. Wipe off dust with a damp cloth and let dry.
  • Step #3 - Select the final spray paint color you'd like. I chose Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze paint. Repeat the same spray-paint process as described in Step 2, except using spray paint instead of primer. Hang and let dry. If you want to distress the monogram, now would be the time to do that (brush along the edges with sandpaper until you achieve the distressed look you like).
slightly distressed...
  • Step #4 - To finish things off, spray a coat of clear polyurethane (light layers of paint are best - otherwise you can end up with paint that runs/bubbles in your paint, etc). Hang and let dry overnight. 
*Just* after I sprayed the coat of polyurethane,
so it looks a little hazy 
  • Step #5 - Hang it up! I ultimately decided that the bottom of the stairwell would be a very visible and perfect place for it. (until I change my mind and decide it belongs on our front door, above our mantel, etc...creative expression, right?!)
Here's a little inspiration:
I'm not affiliated with either of these stores, but I think their monogram ideas are beautiful!

Anyone else addicted to monograms? Come on...your secret's safe with me!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Easy DIY kitchen drawer dividers

I love an organized kitchen...however if you look in my kitchen drawers on any given day, you might question my organization skills:

We've bought drawer organizers before, but they never seem to fit the space *just* right, plus they're EXPENSIVE! I knew there had to be a better solution, so I headed to Lowes.

Project List:
  • measuring tape
  • 1/4" poplar wood (you choose the width - I chose 3" wide)
  • gorilla glue
  • miter saw, table saw, or jigsaw
  • sandpaper


Step #1: Using measuring tape, measure the drawer's width, length, and depth. (Mine is 19" deep, 13.75" wide, and 3" tall)

At Lowes, I found 1/4" poplar wood that was 3" wide. It came in 4-foot-long pieces, so I bought 2 pieces to play with. In the first drawer I worked on, there are all kitchen tools in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so I decided that I wanted that one to have one long section on the left to wrangle tongs, long spatulas, wooden spoons, etc, and 2 sections on the right for the miscellaneous, smaller items that easily get jumbled up in the big open drawer.

Step #2: Using a miter saw, jigsaw, or table saw, cut the poplar wood to the length(s) you need. Sand the raw edges with sandpaper to smooth them out.

Mike made the first cuts for me on the miter saw, then I made the rest!
3 cut pieces of the 1/4" poplar
Step #3: Arrange the pieces in the drawer, to ensure they fit. They should fit pretty snug, but not so tight that you have trouble getting them in and out of the drawer. (You can use a heavy-grit sandpaper to subtle-ly shorten pieces). Using a pencil/pen, draw a line where you want the 2 perpendicular dividers to touch each other. Once you have a good fit, remove from the drawer

Step #4: Follow the instructions on your gorilla glue, running a small line of glue along the edge of the short piece - line up with the pencil mark on the long piece and glue the 2 pieces together. The gorilla glue will expand, so be sure to use a small amount. If you'd like to glue the dividers to your drawers, go for it! I wanted the option to remove and clean the liner underneath the divider/utensils, so I only glued the 2 divider pieces together.

 Step #5: Once the glue has dried completely, add your utensils back into the drawer for easy access!


I did a similar divider for my baking-utensils drawer. This time, I turned the drawer on it's side as the divider was drying, using the weight of the rolling pin to ensure a good glue-seal between the poplar pieces. 

Once the glue dried, I removed the dividers, inserted the white liner underneath, then reinserted the divider...

and filled it up with all my baking tools for easy access!

Oh happy day...an organized kitchen!!!

Have any good kitchen organization tips to share?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Scraping a popcorn ceiling - Part 1

Not quite complete...but getting there!
When the hubs and I moved into our house in August of 2011, most of the downstairs ceilings were popcorn-free and beautiful. However, each room upstairs was covered entirely in popcorn! We have dormers in 3 rooms upstairs, and even THOSE were covered in popcorn.

If ever I were to meet the guy who invented popcorn ceilings...*&$(#*&!!

I should have paid closer attention to the warnings from friends/other bloggers about scraping your own popcorn ceilings - it's MESSY, time consuming, a little painful, but ultimately pretty addictive and so rewarding! Thanks to Pretty Handy Girl for my inspiration!: http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/2012/03/scraping-your-own-popcorn-ceilings-its-a-messy-job-but-someones-gotta-do-it.html

Supplies needed for project:

  • plastic sheets/tarps (buy 'em cheap...you just throw them out after use)
  • scraper
  • spray bottle, filled with water
  • washcloths
  • spackle
  • sandpaper - 100 grit
  • masking tape or frog tape
  • goggles
  • mask (so you don't inhale the plaster)
  • primer (see Part 2)
  • ceiling paint (see Part 2)
  • paint roller (see Part 2)
Before you get started, test for asbestos: I scraped a tiny amount of popcorn ceiling and texture and sent it off to a lab in California to be tested for Asbestos. A few days later, I got notification that we have 0% asbestos in our ceiling, so I forged ahead.

I started in our guest bathroom:
*Note that we're only going to DIY these slanted dormer ceilings...we'll hire a professional to scrape our ceilings...as the rooms are just too big for me (or us) to conquer! 

Step #1: I removed all shelving & knick-knacks from the bathroom, and began taping plastic sheets to the walls. It's recommended that you cover your entire room in plastic, connecting the sheets with masking tape or frog tape. I only covered the area I was working in...and later wished I'd covered the whole room. It's amazing how plaster dust can travel :(

You can see where I started scraping (top right corner), and the remaining popcorn
 Step #2: Spray a small section of the popcorn ceiling with water - let sit a few minutes, then use your scraper to *scrape* the plaster from your walls, leaving a smooth surface underneath.. The plaster should come down *fairly* easily. Work in sections, spraying water as you go along. If it's difficult to remove, spray lightly with more water - You just don't want to douse the drywall under the plaster popcorn.

Step #3: once all popcorn is removed, sand lightly with sandpaper. Take a damp washcloth and wipe away plaster dust. Let dry completely.

Popcorn all gone! Ready for spackle...
Step #4: Use spackle to fill-in any dents or not-smooth areas. Once the spackle is dry, lightly sand with sandpaper. Take a damp washcloth and wipe away spackle-dust. (I feel certain there's a more technical term than "spackle-dust", but I'll go with it for now) Let dry completely.

Step #5: Remove the plastic from your walls (if it hasn't already fallen down...I used masking tape, which didn't hold up to the spray-water very well)

Next steps: coming soon! I'll go over the final steps (priming and painting) in Part 2!

In the meantime, I was feeling froggy, so started on our bedroom dormers also:

Have you tried scraping texture from ceilings or walls before? What worked/didn't work for you??