Easy DIY projects to refresh your home decor

Featured, News

When you look at your favorite interior spaces, are you craving a refresh? If your home decor is dated, drab or you’re just bored with it, an update is in order.

Fortunately, you don’t need to hire an expensive interior designer or completely redo rooms. With a few key DIY projects, you can easily give each room a facelift without spending a lot of money. Better yet, this gives you the opportunity to personalize your decor so it’s one of a kind and truly reflects who you are.

Whether you’re a savvy DIYer or just have always wanted to personalize your own projects, consider these simple home decor ideas i to update your home and bring new life to your favorite spaces:

Adorable umbrella wreath

Add cheer to your front door or anywhere in your house with a homemade wreath that can be constructed in minutes. Use an umbrella as the base of the wreath. Purchase a new one in a bright hue or use one from around your home. You’ll want one with a hooked handle, as that will be how you hang this special wreath. Turn upside-down and open slightly. Then tuck into the top opening silk flowers of your choice that you can find at your local dollar or craft store. Tie the middle of the umbrella with a bow to secure flowers in place and allow the umbrella to be hung securely. Then, simply use the handle to hang on your front door’s wreath hook or anywhere else in your home where you desire to add seasonal color.

Pineapple paper vases

Think outside the box when deciding on materials to use for your project. While vases are often made out of glass or porcelain, how fun would it be to update your space with paper vases? Opportunities are limitless with the Cricut Maker(TM) that allows you to cut hundreds of materials quickly and accurately, from the most delicate paper and fabric to chipboard and leather. Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality and are an ideal design for warm-weather months. You can use the Cricut Scoring Wheel to create stunning geometric Paper Pineapple Vases (pictured) in a variety of sizes from 3- to 10-inches tall. Add silk flowers (or make your own!) to these vases for a splash of color in any room, from the vanity in the bathroom to the kitchen table.

Personalized accent pillows

Decorative pillows add pops of color to couches, chairs and other furniture. New pillows can be costly, so consider updating the ones you have with iron-on appliques that you create yourself. Use the Cricut Maker to cut words, silhouettes and other fun designs with Cricut’s Everyday Iron-on(TM), which comes with a StrongBond guarantee so you can enjoy it wash after wash. After cutting your designs, weed the iron-on and apply using the Cricut EasyPress(TM), which provides professional results in 60 seconds or less without the guesswork of timing or temperature settings. What designs are trending this year? Mandala designs are great for a variety of home aesthetics, and words and phrases are always popular and can be completely personalized.

Heartfelt wooden signs

Rustic chic is a top design style, and wooden signs are a perfect example of this trend. Wooden boards personalized with meaningful sayings, monograms and other custom elements are popular, but you won’t have to pay an artist to create one for you. Instead, go to your local craft store and buy an affordable board in the shape of your choice. To save money, go through scrap lumber you might have and sand a piece to prepare it for paint. Start by creating an outline of what you want to paint using a pencil, so it can easily be painted over or erased. If you’re not good at freehand designs, use a stencil to create your preferred design. A popular design is to write out your last name and then under it put an establish date. For example: “Nelson” followed by “est. 2005”.

These simple home decor projects will get the creative juices flowing and help you refresh your home and personalize your spaces. With fresh color, fun designs and personalized elements, you’ll enjoy these one-of-a-kind decorations for many years to come.

Working While Feeling Broken

Culture, Editor's Journal, Featured

I have decided to keep a simple promise to myself. To sit down at my computer and reclaim my love for writing. My love for it started out of such a simple belief that I liked it and that I had something to say. That was all it took to pledge my allegiance to a craft that has since become a fixture in my constant battle with “imposter syndrome.”
The more I liked it, the more I wanted to be great at it. The louder you declare yourself a writer, I quickly learned, the more people will come out of nowhere to critique it. I think the most annoying thing I have observed strictly speaking from my own experience is the readiness people have to accept that someone is a writer when they are not a person of color. 
But when a person of color says that they do anything in a professional capacity there is an instant request for their credentials and a readiness to critique their work. That has mainly been my experience. I am not speaking for the entire community. I am speaking of my experiences and my observations. I have been reciting my resume since high school. 
I have been critiqued since high school. And I learned pretty early on that it is an insanely subjective trade. My means of survival through college was to write to the interests of whoever was critiquing my work. It worked for a little while. But eventually my desire to grow as a writer became difficult to ignore. I mean I am going into debt here. I might as well try to experiment and learn while there is no obligation to taking care of a family or (student loans). I wanted to do more than parrot revisions of established opinions that were being taught to me. I did want to be able to tell the stories of others.
But I wanted to expand my voice as well. I can honestly say that my skin was not thick enough for the critiques that I knew would follow committing to such a venture. Nevertheless, I tried it anyway. I graduated by the skin of my teeth. Ego bruised, confidence non-existent and in the kind debt that inspires panic attacks that feel eerily similar to my asthma attacks. My final lab professor (reporting class) looked at me one evening during her office hours and said words that I am just accepting now (to quote the Queen of the North, “I’m a slow learner. But I learn”).

“Ju’lia, it feels like you are defeated. It even shows in your body language. You shrink up when we discuss your writing.”

In that moment, I became cripplingly loyal to being defeated. I would eventually believe that I was broken. 

You hear so many stories about people who lost so much of their lives building up a dream that never happened. That at some point they had to walk away and painfully start over. Most of the times it enables them to accept the very things that they use to passionately reject. I spent years wondering if that was my intended journey. Why couldn’t I go with a practical major? Why didn’t I have the mind for engineering or science? 
If you actually read all of this, I respect you. And I am guessing you are wondering how I worked with this energy while creating Worthy Magazine. My answer is cheesy. I hate typing sentences like this. I always question the authenticity of these words whenever I see them or read them. But my discomfort and distrust of these next few statements can’t make them less true. These are cheesy facts.
Every issue of Worthy was just as much for me as it was for my desired readers. I needed those messages. I needed to write some of those words. But I still found myself trying to create content that I thought people would read. I was still trying to tell the stories of others while not even believing in my ability to do so. It took me years to realize that I stopped writing for me even in the most intimate sense.
What I liked about writing all those years ago was the freedom to get out what I needed to say. I lost it in the pursuit of being a “gatekeeper of history,” which is a popular journalist mantra. And then I let the critiques on my ability to do that corrupt and convert my passion into fear. I became voiceless, by CHOICE. I think it is important to say that it was a choice because I still had critiques that spoke favorably of my ability to write. I realize now that there were honestly just as many positive critiques as negative critiques. But I have no problem admitting that my mind has always had a unique ability to absorb the negative much easier than anything positive. 
I hate that my intro to starting something new has to be buried so close to the end of a growing text but to sum everything up that I am trying to say, I am now creating as a release and a way to reclaim my voice. I can’t say that I will be doing this with confidence. I am still insecure. I still see myself as broken. I can still quote verbatim some college critiques that surpassed reviewing my work at the time and tried to predict my professional future. So I can’t say that everything will be flawlessly executed. I do hope I get to see that day though. What I am certain of is that there is a place for my voice. And if the things I create never mean anything to anyone else, they will mean something to me much like this piece that I am writing and sharing. 

I am currently working while feeling broken and while my anxiety originally flourished in such a space, and after years of being afraid to move and too sick to create, I have realized what most people who break and don’t die realize, which is that my obstacles forced me to adjust just to endure them, which forced me to evolve. 

I have never been more effective in knowing how to take care of myself and understanding the NEED to do so. I have never been more calm when telling someone, ‘No’. I have NEVER been more at peace with not taking a call. I have never been more kind to myself. So while some people would think it is a terrible thing to admit to, I would say the fear of speaking about it betrays a lack of understanding of what it means to be broken and how it can inspire change if you let it. I would accept that claiming brokenness while not trying to change could be bad thing. But transparency and vulnerability have taken on a powerful meaning to me. 
And I can assure you that this isn’t a selfish “creative” declaration about creating for myself exclusively. I know that I will still have to write pieces that are not strictly just for my own interests. This is a declaration about returning to a practice that I abandoned years ago. This is about working on my confidence. And getting back to loving something that means so much to me. And while my skin is getting a little itchy ( I scratch when I am nervous) as I write this long promise to myself, I have a small glimmer of hope about the success of this commitment. I have found that the things I did with a casual attitude and a sincere interest have always ended up getting more interaction from people who I wouldn’t even guess were paying attention.

So if you were looking for an unexpected but direct sign that your interests matter and that your efforts are seen, you can take this as your confirmation. We never know who is listening, watching or reading. You never know who references you as motivation. Keep going predominantly for your own sake. 

But get acquainted with the fact that there is real intention behind your existence and your creative contribution to the space that you occupy. 
– Ju’lia Samuels