Friday, January 23, 2015

Valentine's Day Heart Wreath

Valentine's Day heart wreath - made for under $15 from inexpensive foam hearts! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Are you ready for some Valentine's Day crafts? I've been scheming the last couple weeks and ended up buying half of the Valentine's aisle at Hobby Lobby! Needless to say, I've come up with some fun ideas that I can't wait to share. We're kicking things off with one of my favorite things to make for a holiday - a wreath!

Valentine's Day heart wreath - made for under $15 from inexpensive foam hearts! || http://www.designimprovised.com

This wreath is colorful, playful, and under $15 to make thanks to a variety of inexpensive foam hearts from Hobby Lobby! When you think of Valentine's Day, you don't necessarily think of teal, and that's why I love the unexpected pop of color that the few teal hearts bring to the wreath! I used a similar combination for my pom-pom heart wreath a couple years ago.

Valentine's Day heart wreath - made for under $15 from inexpensive foam hearts! || http://www.designimprovised.com

You can whip up this wreath in under 30 minutes. Here's how!

Supplies for Heart Wreath


  • Foam wreath form (I used a 17" circle wreath form. If you can find a circle from with a flat surface, it will work even better than my rounded one!)
  • Foam hearts in various sizes and colors
  • Red ribbon (you can use red crepe paper streamers for an inexpensive alternative)
  • Hot glue gun

Valentine's Day heart wreath - made for under $15 from inexpensive foam hearts! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thrifty DIY: Pantry Command Center

Transform your pantry door into a household command center! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Thanks to a $3 bulletin board and a $1 clipboard from the Goodwill, I now have a home "command center" on the back of my pantry door!

Transform your pantry door into a household command center! || http://www.designimprovised.com

I've been needing a place to keep a grocery list, recipes to try, and my never-ending list of household to do's. These two thrift store finds paired with some of my favorite Martha Stewart paints and stencils make the pantry door not only much more functional, but nice to look at too! Isn't this stencil pretty?

Transform your pantry door into a household command center! || http://www.designimprovised.com

My friends at Handmade Mood make the best free printables and I was excited to incorporate their grocery list and cleaning checklist into my command center. I printed off a bunch of grocery lists at once and store all the back-ups on the clipboard along with a pen.

Transform your pantry door into a household command center! || http://www.designimprovised.com

It feels good to have a central place for keeping on top of to do's instead of my previous system of random sticky notes strewn across the counter!

Transform your pantry door into a household command center! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Thrift stores almost always have some old bulletin boards and clipboards in stock for a dollar or two each. All they need is a little paint to make them display worthy in your home. Here's how:

Supplies for Stenciled Bulletin Board


  • Inexpensive bulletin board (I found mine at the Goodwill for $2.99)
  • Craft paint (I used Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint in River Rock and Parisian Blue for a nice chalk finish that matched the colors on my kitchen cabinets)
  • Stencils (I absolutely love this pack of Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Stencils for an overall trellis effect, but any variety of stencil will work)
  • Paint brush (I used this one and it worked perfect!)

How to stencil a cork bulletin board || http://www.designimprovised.com

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pom Pom Mouse Pad

These pom pom mouse pads are made from inexpensive cork trivets! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Because everyone needs their own pom pom mouse pad, right?! 

I'm always on the hunt for more ways to use one of my favorite crafting supplies, and I came up with these colorful mouse pads to make as gifts. I made several for friends over the holidays, and of course had to make one for my desk too!  

These pom pom mouse pads are made from inexpensive cork trivets! || http://www.designimprovised.com

This craft is for all you fellow pom pom lovers out there. All you need is a cork trivet (yep, a trivet!) and pom poms in your favorite colors. Let's get started!

These pom pom mouse pads are made from inexpensive cork trivets! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Supplies for Pom Pom Mouse Pad


  • Cork trivet (mine was 7" square and 1/2" thick)
  • Martha Stewart Multi-Surface Craft Paints
  • Letter stencil
  • Pom poms (3/8" - 1/2" size)
  • Foam brush
  • Hot glue gun


These pom pom mouse pads are made from inexpensive cork trivets! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Cozy Coffee Date

Metallic dipped coffee mugs that are dishwasher safe! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Now that the excitement of the holidays are over, I have been slowing things down and staying close to home. Today I'm partnering with Glade to share my idea of cozy home entertaining. Lately for me that has been sharing a cup of coffee with a friend while our kids play together in the playroom. If we can steal a few quiet moments of conversation without being summoned to help with a toy or settle a sharing dispute, I consider it a success!

A cozy coffee date || http://www.designimprovised.com #feelglade

If I know we have friends coming over for a playdate, I try to plan ahead and pick up a few muffins and fresh fruit at the store. An inexpensive bouquet to brighten up the kitchen table is also a nice touch. These pretty alstroemeria are my favorite supermarket flower. Not only are the often the most affordable (this bunch cost $4), they are also some of the prettiest and last the longest.

When I walk into a friend's home and they have a candle lit, I immediately feel cozy, don't you? I try to create the same cozy vibe in my home. Especially in the winter months, I think a candle is such a comforting sight. 

A cozy coffee date || http://www.designimprovised.com #feelglade

Glade sent me their Cashmere Woods candle that has all my favorite scents mixed together - citrus, oak, and vanilla. Perfect for a winter morning coffee date!  

Metallic dipped coffee mugs that are dishwasher safe! || http://www.designimprovised.com

Of course, I try to incorporate a handmade component to my entertaining whenever I can! I recently gave these thrift store mugs a metallic makeover and was excited to put them to use.

Metallic dipped coffee mugs that are dishwasher safe! || http://www.designimprovised.com

These metallic mugs are so simple to make (and they're dishwasher safe)! Read on for the tutorial:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Design Improvised Turns 4… and Why I Blog


Yes, I drafted these rules around age 8… more on that in a minute. ;)

But first, have I really been at this for four years?! I must say, it made me pause when I realized Design Improvised's 4 year anniversary is this month. I guess time flies when you are having fun. This blog, and having you here reading it, has provided a lot of joy in my life these past few years. I had no real expectations for my blog when I wrote my first post in January 2011. What started as a creative outlet for a newly stay-at-home mom has evolved into a multi-year exploration of what truly makes me tick.

Awhile back my friend PJ wrote a post about why she blogs and she challenged me to do the same. As soon as I read her story, I know I wanted to share mine as well. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to step away from my usual craft tutorials and share a little bit more about myself.

Crafting is in My DNA

My story is really pretty simple. The above set of rules I drafted for my first craft club says it all. Crafting is in my DNA. Apparently, so is telling people what to do (just ask my younger sister, one of the other two members of that first craft club). ;)

I have been making things for as long as I can remember. I've also been trying to turn my making into a business - as evidenced by these beautiful glittered containers I tried selling at a local YWCA craft sale 25 years ago. If you want to see more of my earliest crafts, you can find them here!


I thrive off of coming up with new ideas of things to make. I think about them in the shower, while I'm watching TV, while I'm shopping for groceries. Nothing makes me more giddy than coming up with a cool idea that I just have to try out. 

Having this blog gives me permission to craft, to daydream about crafting, and to spend a lot of time at the craft store… "It's for the blog!" It challenges me to keep coming up with new ideas. Your reactions to my ideas - the sharing, pinning, and making them on your own - is the most thrilling part of all!

I'm a Type A Personality

As my husband once told me, I treat everything I do like a job. He meant that in the best of ways. ;) If I commit to something, like this blog, I'm going to commit to it 100%. Before I had Stella, I worked in management consulting for 7 years, 50-60 hours a week. I was used to working hard. It was stressful, but part of me thrived off of that type of job where I was always "on". When I decided to stay home after Stella was born, I missed the professional motivation the job had provided.

This blog gives me the sense of structure and goal setting I crave. I have an editorial calendar, deadlines to meet, monthly goals to reach! I often can't wait to sit down with my planner and plot out the upcoming weeks on Design Improvised - a Type A personality's dream!

While it is still largely a hobby, I treat my blog like a job and it makes me feel good.
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