DIY: Staircase Makeover

DIY Staricase makeover

Here is a little project my husband and I tackled during our Christmas break. With all the rain and busy weekdays, it ended up taking a lot longer that we had hoped. But,that’s the case with DIY projects right?!

So like a lot of homes built 20 years ago, you have those wonderful orange color stained cabinets and staircase. We, like many people who adore this orange color so much, decided to update our look. So we took one of our weekend days to sand our orange color banisters down.


Sanding alone made a huge improvement on the look of the banister. But you will notice we didn’t get to sand in all the little crevasses.


Not to worry, we are using a stain gel for the hand rail. Since it is not a penetrating stain, we don’t need to put in so much elbow grease. Which makes me so happy.


Next I take the time to tape all the spindles and the base of of the spindles. Painting the spindles all the way up to the hand rail will be hard enough.


We will eventually replace the carpet. So we took advantage of this time and decided to do the staircase now.


Now we get ready to stain!

We used General Finishes Java Gel Stain, and it was super easy to use. First, my husband put on latex gloves. Then he put an old clean sock over it. Then he dipped his hand in the stain gel and started spreading it on the wood.


Here goes our first coat!


It is actually pretty easy to spread.


First coat done! Now to wait at least 24 hours to spread the next coat.


We ended up doing 3 coats to get good coverage and a deep rich color.


Now we are ready for polyurethane! We decided to use Minwax brand Polyurethane and cautiously brushed on 1 coat. No sanding! It will make it cloudy. You want to have the gloss finish.

After this, we took off the tape on the top of the spindles and got ready to paint them white. That too took 3 coats to get a nice bright white.


Here is our first coat of white paint. Notice how we kept the tape at the base of the spindles. (sorry for the poor phone picture)


Here she is complete!

Not bad for a couple DIY project!

I hope this inspires you to start a home improvement project. I know it takes time and energy, but there is something to be said about the bonding of husband and wife on a project like this.


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“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”Colossians 3:23


Jean’s Book Cover Up-cycle Tutorial

Let me just say that my experiments of up-cycling have blossomed due to my hate of throwing stuff away. I mean, if I was not married to my neat and tidy husband I would probably have a pile (larger than what I have now) of stuff to be repurposed. So I thought I would share some of my crazy little tendencies with you.


So we begin with a pair of jeans my daughter has out grown. These are a kids 6X.


I then cut off the right side of the paints since I am going to make a Bible cover. This of course will work great on a hard cover drawing or writing journal.


So you take your piece of jeans and compare it to the book you will be covering and get ready to cut it down to the right size.


If you have a cutting mat, a yard stick and a rotary cutter this will be fast and easy. If not I suggest using a ruler or some sort of straight edge and and a fabric pen or pencil and draw a straight line and use good sharp scissors to cut off the access fabric.


Make sure all edges are even and straight. Then set this piece aside.


Now we return to our jeans and cut off the right leg.


Take your scissor and cut the leg open.


Cut your leg piece in half.


Cut off any seams, you will not need these.


Now line up your two pieces and get ready to do some trimming.


Now all you are going to do is even up the sides so they are the same width.



Please excuse this picture, I should have shown you trimming the length with your front panel first.

_DSC0316-1 Now this is what you should end up with.

_DSC0317-1Now you can gather all 3 pieces and get ready to pin!


This is the time you should remove any waist cinching button and any belt lope along the waist. You don’t wan to snap your needle.


Here is what your jean cover should look like.


Now you are ready to sew your cover together!

As you sew, watch for thick heavy seams, they can snap your needle. To avoid this, I stop sewing and lift the foot of my machine and just move my fabric just enough to avoid sewing through the heavy seam and then resume sewing.


This is what your finished cover should look like! Now personally, I like the raw edge and the contrasting white thread. But you can choose to do it however you like.


Now there you have it!

A new Bible cover or journal cover!

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“She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.”Proverbs 31:13

Airplane Craft for Toddlers


Let me begin by saying I love toddler crafts. They can be super simple or just plain simple. Here at my house,we have been talking about modes of transportation. So of course, airplanes goes on that list. I had prepared myself by going to the Library and picking up some kids books on airplanes (plus other modes of transportation) and loved the big pictures of this book for my Peanuts enjoyment.

airplane collage

While my little Peanut explores her book I plug in my glue gun and grab a couple cheap paper plates. I then glue 3 popsicle sticks to 1 cloths pin. Then since I happen to have one, I also glue a magnet to the bottom of the airplane So we can use it as a magnet for the fridge.


This is what it should look like when you are done.


Then I set up her stuff; a variety of paint colors on a paper plate, paint brushes and a paper plate to paint her airplane on.


Then let you little aircraft designer set to work on a beautiful paint job!


Today, I did not worry about an art coat since she is wearing play clothes.


So glad this little lady loves my ideas.


And that’s it! So simple and so fun for your little one.

I hope you enjoy this craft in your home or classroom!

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What 2016 Brings!

What 2016 brings

I can’t believe it has been a full year of The Romantic Homeschooler!

Now I have to admit. I have held back, a lot. I am naturally an introvert and have been  working on sharing what I know. Why? Well,…because I feel it is fun to share ideas and to share some of our skills. I have held back because I am a bit on the shy side. To some, this my surprise you, to others maybe not so much.

So for 2016, I will NOT HOLD BACK!!! I will share all the things I have wanted to share with you. My bread making, a lot more recipes, my frugal way of living, lots more sewing tutorials and even sewing for kids. I taught my now 5 year old to sew when she was 3. She has agreed to help me show you how she can work on a sewing machine and help me with tutorials on some simple sewing projects your kids can do at home. My son has also agreed to help teach some sewing for boys, projects for the little man in your life. My oldest will do more cooking for you too and I will share my home made secrets with you.


So with that being said I am very excited to share my ideas with you. Some of which will include some YouTube Tutorials. Even some shares of my life for real. We are all people that can learn from each other and should encourage each other on this journey we call life.

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A Cork Board Makeover

cork board makeover blog

This is a super simple project that will take you 30 minutes or less to complete. That is if you have all the proper supplies. Or if you are like me, and you have had the supplies, and had the mind to do this simple project, but have been waiting for just the right print to put a smile on my face. You see I have a small built-in desk in my kitchen. It is a little corner work space that is drab and boring. So a little makeover is what it needs. So this is the first step on brightening my space.

So here is what you need:

  • a cork board
  • quilting batting
  • cotton fabric in a print you like
  • staple gun
  • staples recommended size 3/8″ and 10mm or type T50


So I have had this cork board forever it seams, and as you can see it is not very pretty. My board is about 1/2″ thick.


So first I start off with my batting. I always have some around the house that I use for various projects. So this is a scrap piece. Since it is a scrap piece, it will not wrap all the way around the back. I will be relying on my pretty printed fabric for that.


Here is my fabric! I love the birds and all the colors. These colors will help brighten my space for sure! So I cut my fabric about 3″ longer that the frame. That way I have enough fabric to pull around to the back and staple down avoiding the aluminum frame.


I begin by pulling and stapling the fabric from the middle of each side on the back first. You will want to test your first staple into the cork, you don’t want the ends of the staples poking out in the front side. SO sizing is important. If your cork board is not as think as mine you will need staples that are shorter. Once this part is right, then you can start pulling and stapling your fabric down working toward the corners on each side. You will want to pay special attention to the corners. So do the corners last.


As you can see, I didn’t bother serging or zig zagging the raw edge of the fabric. It will be against the wall and will not be bothered. So I didn’t take the time to finish that piece. Besides, in another season or two I may decide to go with a different fabric.


Until then, I love the way it turned out and look forward to showing you my finished space.

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A Journal Tutorial

journal tutorialThis is a simple craft you can do at home anytime. This is perfect for your child if they would like to make and write their own book,or have a homemade Bible journal, or even a nature journal. We are making them for our Fort Ross overnight field Trip. But the best thing about this is that the sky’s the limit, you can make and use them for gifts or anything else you like.

So, as you know the picture above shows all the materials you need (except the large paper clips I decided to use);

1 cereal box

8-12 pages of copy paper

1 embroidery needle

thread (any color)


glue (Mod podge is prefered)

Brush for glue (if using Mod Podge)

fabric (a fat quarter should work)


Okay, so first thing is stack all your paper and fold it in half.


Next, it’s time to sew your pages together. Make sure your thread is doubled and twice as long as the creased length of your pages. Be sure to make a double knot before you start sewing.


Next you start sewing up at the seam, making each stitch as even as you can.


Then sew back down going through the same holes as before. Then double knot and cut the extra thread and set this part aside.


Now it’s time to work on our book cover.


Pick one side of the box and cut it off the box.


After you cut the flap off, fold it in half like a book.


Grab your pages and see how much of the cover you need to trim off.


Once your sizing is done, put your pages aside and measure your fabric for you cover and cut.


I used rubber cement only because I happened to have it. Mod Podge is really what I recommend.


So I decided to grab some large paper clip to hold the fabric on the cardboard so I can work on the other end.


So I brush on rubber cement glue on one side and stretch the fabric over and smooth it out. I grab two more paper clips and use them to hold the fabric. (FYI, I only used the rubber cement glue because I happen to have it. I would use it again for this part.)


Brush the inner edge of the cover and fold the fabric over.


Do the same with the top.


Now you’re ready to glue in your pages. Brush the glue on to the inner cover and smooth the first page over the wet glue. Repeat on the other side.


So I work quickly on this to get this done, but you can add more glue to the fabric if you have flaps like I did. I then added paper clips to hold it down while it dries.

Then you are done!

Fort Ross Journal

Now you have a little homemade book to do what you wish.

I hope you enjoyed my little idea.

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Fabric Pumpkins Tutorial

Fabric Pumpkins
Here is a simple fall project for beginners!
 All you need to do is sew a straight stitch with a machine, or you can make this by hand. Even if it’s not a perfectly straight stitch, that is okay; this project is very forgiving.
Now to find some fabric scraps and yarn in fall colors!
You will need to cut your fabric into a rectangle; the length will need to be double the height.
So for a small pumpkin, you can cut a 9 X 18, or a 12 X 24, or any combination you like, and as long as the length is double the height, you should have a nicely shaped pumpkin.
Iron your fabric if you need to, and make sure you know your fabric content in order to not melt your fabric.
Fold fabric in half lengthwise and pin together, making sure print sides are together.
You can use a fabric pen, or fabric chalk, or pencil to mark where you will need to stop sewing. You will need at least a 3 inch opening to turn your fabric right side out and to stuff.
Then put into your machine, starting on the fold and sew all the open edges leaving the 3 inch opening.
Once you get about 1/4 inch to the end, stop!
Lift the foot of your machine and rotate your fabric.
Then drop the foot and continue to sew. Do this again at the next corner.
Once you get to the spot where you made your mark (if you did), do 3 reverse stitches to lock in your stitch, so that it won’t not unravel.
Next, it is time to do a baste stitch to what will be the bottom of your pumpkin before you turn it right side out. It is the side without the opening.
Just hand stitch to the end and make a double knot to keep it gathered.
This is what the bottom of your pumpkin should look like after you turn it right side out.
Now it’s time to stuff!! Don’t worry if your pumpkin doesn’t look so good. It will.
Then you hand stitch the opening with an invisible stitch.
This is what it should look like once it is sewed closed.
The bottom is cute stuffed.
Once again, we will do a baste stitch at the top of the pumpkin and tie a double knot to hold in place.
Then, we sew the gathering together to make a tight center like the picture above.
Now we are looking more like a pumpkin!
Now, to work with the yarn. I picked up this sail needle at Beverly’s. You notice the large eye hole and the sharp point. This is exactly what you need to make this part easy.
So thread your needle with the yarn, making sure it is long but not too long. You will be making at least 5 sections on your pumpkin. Knot the end just like the picture above.
Now to begin!
Looking good!
Now we are looking like a squatty pumpkin.
Now to work on the stem. If you want a chunky stem, cut your scrap nice and wide. But if you prefer a long stem, long and skinny is the way to go.
Follow same procedure as before – fold face or print sides together and pin.
Put into your sewing machine and follow the same steps as before, leaving the bottom open.
This is how it should look after sewing.
Turn right side out and stuff. Then hand stitch into the center of your pumpkin and double knot to secure and you’re done!
Make as many as you like! (Odd numbers always look best.)
I hope you enjoyed this project!
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