How To Stamp Drapes with a DIY Stamp



Thank you for all your super sweet comments on Ian's nursery! I thought I'd post a bit more about how I did the stamped curtains. This was such a fun project and I really love the result. It was fairly easy...although the actual stamping took a bit of time - I had four panels to do - but it was a nice, relaxing labor of love:)

Things you'll need:
  • a rubber carving block (I used Speedball's Speedy Carve that I found at Michaels, here's one on Amazon) 
  • pencil
  • X-Acto knife (and/or carving tools)
  • pieces of scrap wood and Super Glue (optional)
  • your curtains
  • fabric/craft paint
  • small roller/brayer
  • paint tray
  • old sheet or drop cloth
  • piece of cardboard
First up, you'll want to make your stamp. For this you'll need some sort of rubber carving block to cut your design out of. I used two sizes of this Speedball Speedy-Carve that I found at Michaels...the smaller one was perfect for the generic fish and the larger one for the "shark".

I hand drew my designs right onto the carving block with a pencil, but you can transfer yours from another drawing or a computer print out or whatever using any kind of tracing technique. Just remember that when you go to use the stamp, your image will actually come out in the reverse...this is critical when doing say text, but I wasn't worried about it with my underwater creatures.

Now you can begin carving your stamp. I used a plain old X-Acto knife that I already had...I'm very comfortable with a #11 blade and my designs were not very intricate. There are many actual carving tools (like these) that you can use for this if you will be making something more complicated. Basically, you just want to carve away the rubber around your design, so that the shape you want printed is higher than the rest of the block. I've made lots of stamps before, but they were on a much smaller scale, where I could use the bottom of the carving block as the part of the stamp that I would hold in my hand. So with these I started off like this - cutting around the fish to outline it and then scooping out a layer of the block.

Once I got this far, I was worried that with this fish being somewhat larger than I was used to, it might be a bit flimsy for the amount I would be using it. And I was worried about some of the paint/ink transferring from the lower areas of the block onto my fabric. So I decided to cut the fish shapes all the way out of the rubber block and mount them to something much more sturdy as a hand hold.

A couple of scrap pieces of wood (cut to just slightly larger than the fish) did the trick. I simply super glued the fish on top and ended up with these as my final stamps.

Now you're ready to start stamping! So fun! First, make sure you prep your curtains. I used Ikea's Merete panels in white so I had to hem them to the length I wanted using the included iron hemming tape. Then I ironed them to get out as many wrinkles as I could. If you're ambitious, I suppose you may even want to wash your panels, but I'm gonna be honest here...I never wash my curtains, so I didn't feel the need to waste time doing that here! #noshame #pleasedon'tkickmeoutofblogland

Then, you'll need a fairly large, flat work surface to work on. For these, I laid out each panel, one at a time, on top of my kitchen table. Don't forget to put some sort of drop cloth or old sheet underneath to keep the paint/ink from bleeding.

For paint, I used Martha Stewart's Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint, also found at Michaels (but I'm assuming any fabric paint would be fine.). I needed a bunch of the 2 oz. bottles for all four of curtain panels, maybe like 6 bottles?  I also picked up a small paint try and roller from their Martha Stewart line. Unlike a smaller stamp that you'd say use an ink pad with, it is best to roll the paint onto these large stamps than dip the stamp itself into the paint. You'll get better coverage and a more solid transfer onto your fabric.

So then you just start going to town:) If you're going to apply your stamp in some sort of geometric pattern, then you probably want to do a bit of planning and measuring as you go. I wanted a very organic look though, not a pattern at all....more like little schools of fish swimming, so sometimes I'd do two or three fish in a group, sometimes like 6 or 7. You should be able to get a couple of stamps onto your fabric before you need to reapply your paint. I think its important to have some of your design going off the edge of the fabric, this will make your design look more authentic. That's where the piece of cardboard came in...I'd just lay about half of the cardboard under the edge of the fabric I wanted to stamp. Then when I pushed the stamp down, half would transfer to the fabric and the other half would transfer onto the piece of cardboard sticking out instead of my drop cloth (this way there wasn't wet paint everywhere that could run back onto the curtains).

Just keep sliding finished parts of the curtain off of your flat surface so that you can move the unfinished parts up to work on. I did this, working from bottom to top and side to side until the entire curtain was stamped how I liked it:)

When I was putting together this room for Ian, I couldn't find exactly the kind of curtains I wanted. I stumbled along some really cool fish ones from Land of Nod, but the scale of the pattern was just way too small. I'm so glad I was able to get the look I wanted by making my own stamp!

{photo courtesy of Sweet Connolly Photography}

I'm not a very good tutorial writer, but hopefully this is enough to give you some confidence to try this on your own. Remember, you can make your own smaller stamps to use on paper with an ink pad too. Next up, I'm dying to stamp my dining room curtains with a real wood block stamp I bought at Brimfied!

Ps. Here's some helpful videos I found on you tube for carving your own stamp:

Ian's Nursery: The Reveal



Well, the dude is 20 months old, so I figured its time I share his nursery with you!

We kept the layout, furniture, and paint color the same as when Maura was in here as a baby, so this was more just a task of swapping out the bedding, rug, and accessories from girl to boy. I had already mulled this over way back in 2011 when I did a guest post over at Honey & first thing I did when I found out we were having a boy was to reread it. I was still smitten with this vintage map and starry night bunting from etsy seller moon and lion, so I had Macky make me one (she is awesome!) and then proceeded forward with my idea of an explorer/adventurer/travel kinda theme.

{photo courtesy of Sweet Connolly Photography}

The drapes are my favorite part of the room! I really wanted something with a fun pattern on a white background. I was inspired by some curtains from Land of Nod (no longer sold) that were really tiny navy blue fish all swimming in the small direction...but the scale of the print was just too small. So I decided to make my own using hand-made stamps and fabric paint on white Ikea Merete panels. I designed two fish silhouettes in the sizes that I wanted and made my own block print stamps to use. Super fun and super easy, although tedious to stamp so many fish on all four curtain panels...worth it in the end cause I love them and Ian does too!!! (Ps. I know, these curtain rods are not ideal. They should be thicker and probably a different color with a more masculine finial at the end, but they were here for Maura's room and I just got lazy and cheap and kept them up. Also, I'd love to change out the old white plastic roller shades for something better, but these guys are the best for blocking out light, so right now they are practical.)

{photo courtesy of Sweet Connolly Photography}
{photo courtesy of Sweet Connolly Photography}
{photo courtesy of Sweet Connolly Photography}
{photo courtesy of Sweet Connolly Photography}

The dresser stayed the same...even using Maura's green changing pad cover. Just swapped the storage caddy out for a navy one and found a new lamp at HomeGoods. These frames were also here, I just took out the botanical art that was in there and printed out some National Park images from to add to that adventure/exploration feel.

{photo courtesy of Sweet Connolly Photography}
{photo courtesy of Sweet Connolly Photography}

 So you can see the comparison, here's some shots of this room before, when it was Maura's nursery:

{Maura on the left, Ian on the right}
{Maura on the left, Ian on the right}
{Maura on the left, Ian on the right}
I'm so happy with how this room came out. And we have loved spending time with this little guy (and Maura) in here over the last year and a half! Have any of you guys converted a nursery from one sex to the other?


-paint color: Heaven on Earth by Benjamin Moore
-area rug: Nomad Printed Cotton Dhurrie in Straw from West Elm, no longer sold
-crib skirt and bumper: Serena & Lily Candy Stripe Crib Skirt in Sprout and Nursery Basics Crib Bumper in Sprout
-crib sheet: Babies R Us Percale Crib Sheet in Sports Stars
-map: Borders going out of business sale
-elephant chair: Cuddle Plush Elephant Chair from Restoration Hardware baby & child
-dresser: Ikea Hemnes 8 drawer dresser in white
-changing table storage basket: Pottery Barn Kids Navy Geo Nursery Storage
-green table lamp: HomeGoods
-national park posters: DIY prints from
-glider: Potter Barn Kids Comfort Grand Swivel Rocker
-throw blanket: Favorite Throw Stripe in Bean Sprout from West Elm
-striped round basket: HomeGoods
-white ledge shelves: Ikea Ribba Picture ledge in white
-bear and pirate ship vintage woodcut greeting cards: Brimfield Antique show
-letterpress "PLAY" blocks: Brimfield Antique show
-Animals of North America print: Land of Nod, no longer sold
-fish drapes: DIY stamped using Ikea's Merete curtains in white

PS. If you're curious about the evolution of this room, here's some old posts with more info....part I: Nursery Switch, part II: Rug and Bedding, part III: Art, and part IV: Accessories.

PPS. Linking up to Silver Pennies Sundays over at Danielle's, Be Inspired at Elizabeth & Co., That DIY Party with Roeshel and March '15 Before and Afters over at Thrifty Decor Chick:)

TDC Before and After

That DIY Party

Elizabeth and Co.

Valentine's Day Mantel and a DIY Garland



Hello! Hope everyone is having a good week! Snow, snow, and more snow...that's what we're all about up here outside of Boston.

Thought I'd pop in with a quick post about our "Valentine's Day" mantel:) I don't usually do much for this holiday, but this year I made a super easy and quick heart garland and figured I'd share. Here's how are mantel is looking:

Found a pack of foam hearts on sale last winter after Valentine's Day was over and bought them cheap assuming we could do something with them this year. I just punched holes on either side and threaded through some pink and white butchers twine I already had and we got ourselves a banner!!

I loaded up these frames with prints from our recent family photo session with Sweet Connolly Photography, perfect for this holiday celebrating all those we love, and even put out the letterpress printing blocks I got at Brimfield that signify our wedding date, July 29th. I added all the white candles for a bit of texture but didn't want to detract from the garland and photos with more color.

Have a great Valentine's Day weekend! And if you're anywhere near me, good luck cause of course another blizzard is on the way!!

Ps. For anyone really paying attention, we've got a new paint color in here...Benjamin Moore Alaskan Husky...painted it recently since this room changed from our more formal living room into our TV/family room when we decided to put in a playroom (more on that here and here) - best decision ever btw!!...will post more about the changes in this room later:)

Ian: 19 months



Hello! Happy New Year and all that:) How is everyone? Still kicking around over here...trying to get back to blogging but not going to stress out about it!

I wanted to do another update post on Ian. Last one I did he was 10 months old..oops! So since then, he's turned one!!, had a book birthday party, started walking at 14 months, talking, and pretty much just turned into a regular old toddler:)

Height (at 18 months): 33"
Weight (at 18 months): 25 lbs 5 oz
Clothes: size 2T
Shoes: size 6

He is talking up a storm and gets better and better with each passing day! Just like Maura at this age, he tries to repeat everything we say and is pretty successful at it. He is putting 2 and 3 words together, knows his animals and their sounds, lots of car/truck/construction vehicle parts and vocab, and just probably within the last week started getting some of his colors right! He loves to nod his head yes and say "uh huh" or shake his head no with "eh eh" when you ask him a question. A lot of times I'll say something like "let's go upstairs and you can help me with the laundry, ok?" (which he loves to do) and he'll say back "Oh kaaayyyy". He is such a content little guy, way more relaxed and chill than his older sister! (Whom I love to death, she's just 4 and full of lots of drama now!)

{his first real time out in the snow - that we got this weekend, apparently lots more to come soon - don't mind the poofy, unflattering snowpants, they were Maura's and are a couple of sizes too big for him. standards go way down for the 2nd kid!}

Sleeping Habits: This guy is such a good sleeper! His nap schedule changed this fall when I kept having to wake him up from his morning nap to go pick up Maura from pre-school or My eventually we just tried one long afternoon nap and he took right to it. Now he usually sleeps for like 3 hours in the middle of the afternoon (say 2 - 5pm or 2:30 - 5:30pm), which is perfect because Maura and I get a nice long chunk of uninterrupted "big girl time" when we can play with all the toys that have really complicated little pieces, do a craft project, play a board game, etc. His bedtime routine continues to be the same...somehow he is still ready for bed like 3 hours after he wakes up from his long nap, but that's cool by me! We put him down around 8:30pm (although he usually rolls around quietly for awhile before falling asleep) and most days he sleeps through the night until sometime around 7:30/8am.

{having a cookie on Christmas Eve while the rest of us decorate them for Santa!}
Eating Habits: Besides sleeping, this guy also likes to eat! (Do you think its a boy thing, or a second kid thing, that they seem much easier and less fussy?) He'll eat most things***, could snack 24/7, loves fruit. Some things that he likes that Maura doesn't are blueberries, pears, applesauce, toast with jelly, and well, most things (since she's such a picky eater!). Still need to work on getting him to eat more veggies though. He loves warm milk in his purple sippy cup (#realboyslovepurple) when he wakes up and before he goes to bed.

***Well, since I've started writing this post - took me a few days to get it all together - we've had a bit of a down turn in the eating department! Ugh, so frustrating! Now he has stopped liking some of the things he used to like and has begun pushing away new foods without even trying them when before he would at least try anything you put in front of him. Bummer. Any ideas?

{his first time trying tomato soup!}

Favorite Toys: our Imaginarium train table that we got for Maura when she was two, books, cars, trucks, any kind of vehicle

{reading his favorite book he got for Christmas with his Great Aunt Peggy, "The Big Book of Things that Go"}
 Favorite Pastimes: playing in the playroom (he plays really well independently and will keep himself busy for long periods of time), he still really loves to read, being outside, watching "shows", horsing around with his sister, going in the car to pick Maura up from various things, coming shopping with Mama, and his new favorite obsession - coloring with markers

Favorite TV Shows: Thomas & Friends, Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Peter Rabbit, anything on Disney Jr.

{here he is Christmas morning playing with some of his new Paw Patrol guys}

Here's some photos from a family shoot we did with Jannelle of Sweet Connolly Photography back in November (so when Ian was 17 months). He wouldn't sit still for a second so we spent most of the time chasing him around and snapping pics....but that's ok, this age is so fun!! Ps. Would highly recommend Jannelle to anyone local for newborn/family/wedding photography - this is the third time we've worked with her:)

Ah, he's so cute, I can't stand it!!! Love you so much, Buddy!!!

PS. Thanks to anyone still reading this blog (if there are actually some of you left)!  Now that Ian is a year and a half, I thought it might be nice to finally post some pics of his nursery, lol!!! Trying to finish taking those and edit them...hopefully to come soon:)

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