Katy Napotnik

Jul 232012

We’ll be having our first big event in August! August 3rd to be exact- part of our city’s First Friday event. I’ll be sharing more details soon, but in the meantime I wanted one of the things I’ve been working on to prepare for the event!

diy business cards

There are many sites on the internet where you can design and order business cards. I spent much time looking at the options and finally decided to make my own. It was easy and fun. You could do similar things with invitations, save the dates, menus… many types of stationary. If you have any stationary needs and want to chat about some fun diy options, just send me an email at…

[ricedesignblog (at) gmail (dot) com]

I picked up some supplies for the business cards at our local Michael’s. I never shop at Michael’s without a coupon and you don’t have to either. I always pull up their website on my phone as I’m standing in line and pick out a coupon from their weekly ad. This week they had a 50% off one item coupon or 25% off your entire purchase, including sale items. Awesome!

So for my business cards, I got some card stock and a paper cutter (which is one of my new favorite crafting tools). They had a sale on all Fiskar items, so my $19.99 paper cutter was 50% off. Worth every penny. It’s so easy to use and it lets you see exactly where you’ll be cutting- a paper cutting dream. It’s the simple things in life, right?

I used Microsoft Word in the publishing layout view to design the text. I’d love to have a custom rubber stamp made, but that’s a little more pricey and seems like such a commitment! What if my email or something changes?!

Once my the text was designed, I copied and pasted it to fit as many times as possible on one page. I printed on a plain sheet of paper to double check everything, then printed on my nice card stock.

I used my paper cutter to cut out the text and also the larger rectangles of dark brown card stock (that kind of looked like paper bags- I love it).

I used my sewing machine to sew the white text rectangles onto the brown card stock.

Then I took some colored tape that I had laying around and made a stripe on the back to cover up the stitching.

Really easy. And definitely cheaper than cards I liked online that were $1.20/piece!

 July 23, 2012  Posted by at 11:35 diy 2 Responses »
Jul 172012

My husband’s building a very large climbing wall outside and he had a piece of OSB board left over. A very large piece of OSB (which is kind of like plywood)- 4 feet by 4 feet to be exact. I was thrilled and immediately requested it for a project. I knew I wanted it to go at the top of the stair landing, but I wasn’t sure what I’d do with it. My first thought was to paint it. I started doing a giant abstract painting but after several painting sessions, I got frustrated and made big black paint lines all over it and quit. Good attitude, I know. I’d seen people make woven burlap bulletin boards and I always thought it looked neat. (I just love burlap… it’s in every room in our house but the bathrooms). So I decided to make a giant woven burlap board. I have some mini clothes pins that I might use to hang pictures on the board. Right now, I just like the texture and warmth it adds to the top of the stairs, on what was a large blank wall. You see this wall as soon as you open the front door and look up the stairs, so I’m very happy to have something interesting hanging on it!

Want to make your own? Here’s what you need:

A giant piece of plywood or OSB or something like it. You could always just build a frame and it’d weigh much less.

A staple gun and lots of staples.

Pinking shears or scissors.

Burlap- enough to cover the board two times.

Here’s what you do:

1. Start by cutting strips of burlap. I decided to do 4 inch wide strips and made them 4 feet by 4 inches long. (My board was 4 feet wide, so that gave my 2 inches extra for stapling). You need enough strips to line two sides of your board. See the lovely illustration below.

2. Lean your board up to a wall, back side facing you. It doesn’t really matter what side is the back and what’s the front. Start stapling your strips to the back of the board, side by side. One staple in each strip will do for now. You can go back and secure them more when it’s done. See the lovely illustration to see what two sides you’ll want to staple the strips to.

3. Turn your board so the front is facing you. At this point, your strips should be stapled to the top and one side of your board. Let the strips on the top hang down over the front of your board. Let the strips on the side just hang freely. You’ll get to them in a minute.

4. Take the top strip that’s hanging on the side of the board and start weaving it over, under, over, under, etc, horizontally across the board, with the strips that are hanging down from the top. When you get to the other side, secure the strip to the back of the board with a staple. Do the same thing with all the strips hanging from the side of the board. Make sure you alternate. You’re making a checker board kind of pattern. So if you started going ‘under, over…’ on the top strip, you’ll start the second strip going ‘over, under…’.

5. Once you have all the horizontal strips woven, turn your board so what was the bottom is now on a side so you can secure the loose ends with a staple to the back.

6. You can wiggle around the strips to make them lay flat or go straight. And if some are lose, just pull it tight and add an extra staple in the back.

6. Get a strong man to hang it on the wall. You will most DEFINITELY need to screw this into studs in several places. A 4×4 OSB is a heavy! When we screwed it into the wall, we pulled the burlap to the side slightly where we would screw so when it was finished the burlap would hide the screw head.

7. Admire your woven burlap board!

*You could really make this any size you want and you could use any fabric you want, too!*

Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day and be inspired!

(I should have added, I ran out of burlap so I added some wide burlap ribbon type stuff that I had laying around. That’s what you see with the red stripes going through it. If one piece is too short, it’s OK. Just make sure it ends on an ‘under’ and you’ll never see it. You can start a new piece and nobody will know!)

 July 17, 2012  Posted by at 12:25 diy, our home 1 Response »
Jul 132012

We do a lot of car playing at our house, which involves lots of sitting on the floor. When I spotted this at a thrift store, I knew it’d be perfect to perch on while playing cars. There was a sticker on the bottom that read, ‘Brass Foot Stool $17.50’. HA! Absolutely no way. It didn’t look like the normal tag this thrift store uses, so I asked John, another employee I know by name, if he could help. I wasn’t sure what I’d pay for it, but I knew not much. When he said, “Oh, 3 dollars?” I replied, “3? Sold!” I took it home and after the kiddo went to bed, I got to work.

So here’s what I did:

1. Normally, I would take off the original upholstery and change the foam. But this was going to be a quick fix with what I had on hand. It didn’t smell and wasn’t in bad shape, so I just sprayed it with some Febreze allergen reducer and let it dry.

2. Then I flipped it over and unscrewed the legs with my drill. You can use a screw driver, but a drill’s more fun (and much quicker). One of the things I always check is whether the legs can be taken off easily to change the cushion. Normally, on chairs and stools like this, it’s no problem. So I unscrewed the legs.

 (I wanted to cover the seat in an old rice bag, but since it’s thin fabric and I didn’t want the original flower upholstery to show through, I did two layer. The first fabric was something I had in my stash- a light tan color).

3. Lay the fabric down, right side down. (For the first fabric it didn’t matter because it was the same on both sides). Then lay the cushion on top of it. Take your staple gun and start wrapping the fabric up around the sides and stapling, making sure to pull tightly and evenly. I do one full side (skipping the corners for now), then the side across from that, to pull evenly. Then the other side, followed by the side across from it. I save the corners for the end and pull and wiggle to get it to lay flat and look the way I want. **You want to make sure not not pull your fabric over the holes that the legs have to screw into!**

4. Since that was just my first layer of fabric, I got my rice bag and did the same thing again. I made sure I had it positioned correctly, then laid it right side down and started stapling.

5. Once the fabric was stapled, I screwed the legs back on. I made sure to stick the ends of the fabric slightly under the legs to hold it down.

6. Admire your new stool and play cars in comfort!

Top left: the original stool. Top right: What the legs looked like, so I knew I could take them off. Bottom left: Febreze spray. Bottom right: the rice bag I wanted to recover it in.

This is what the stool looked like underneath after it was recovered and the legs were back on.

Do you have anything you could recover? It’s pretty simple! Have a blessed day and be inspired! Thanks for reading.

 July 13, 2012  Posted by at 09:16 diy, our home 2 Responses »
Jul 122012

Happy Thursday, friends! I want to share a quick diy project with you today.

I’ve been holding onto this mirror I snatched at Target ages ago. It was $1. It’s a nice square, but I’m not crazy about the frame. I thought about spray painting it, but that never really got me excited. So I never did it. It needed something more. So I plugged in my hot glue gun, got out some wood shims and got busy.

Once again, I forgot to take progress pictures. And I just quickly snapped pictures with my phone when I was done.

What You Need:

A Mirror (since my mirror already had a frame, it also had a way to hang it)

Hot Glue

Wood Shims (mine are from Home Depot, but I’m sure any hardware store would have them)

Sharp Scissors

What You Do:

Lay your mirror down flat and start glueing down wood shims! Pretty simple. I started gluing on the mirror. Then I worked my way to the outside of the frame. I made sure to cover all the part of the red/orange frame. Then I glued shims around the outside to make a border. I used sharp scissors to cut different sizes of wood. It’s the kind of thing you can’t really mess up. My kind of project!

The really bad before.

The much better after! (By the way, do you know how hard it is to take a picture of a mirror and not get anything in it? Hence the weird angle…)

And the details.

Maybe I’ll get around to taking better pictures of it, but in the meantime I just wanted to share it! Have a great day!

 July 12, 2012  Posted by at 11:26 diy 1 Response »
Jul 072012

I forgot to post yesterday! My sincere apologies. I’m back today with a quick little diy project. You’ve probably seen this before, but here’s my take on it.

diy toilet paper wall art

What you need:

empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls

paint of your color and brush (optional)

hot glue


pins (or nails, for hanging)

What you do:

1. Pick your paint color and paint the outside of your toilet paper rolls. (I was making this to hang in our newly made over bathroom, which now has yellowish walls. I wanted it to be a slightly darker shade of yellow so I dug through my (rather large) craft paint collection to find this mustardy yellow.) Stand the rolls on end to let them dry. If you don’t want to paint, skip this step. I’ve made these before and left them the cardboard brown.

2. Once the rolls are dry, squash them flat. (top right photo below) Then cut them into equal(ish) parts. (bottom left photo below) I just eye balled it because I like the way it looks when they aren’t all exactly the same. They’re about 1.5 inch pieces.

3. When they’re cut into pieces, paint the inside of the rolls and the edge that will be showing when it’s hanging. (the photos below don’t show this done) I think it’s easier to paint the inside when they’re already cut.

4. Decide what pattern you want to make. For the space I was making this for, I went for long and lean. (see the photos above) I used the hot glue gun to glue two pieces together at a time. (bottom right photo below) Then I attached them to each other.

5. Use little pins (like used for sewing) or nails to hang it on your wall!

It’s a quick diy project… perfect for a hot summer Saturday. Stay cool today!

 July 7, 2012  Posted by at 09:36 diy, our home 1 Response »
Jul 052012

I hope everyone had a fun, safe and cool fourth! We spent the day with family, swimming in the pool, eating delicious food and then walking to fireworks. My sweet two year old, Gabe, was captivated by the fireworks. They’re a fun, festive event, but nothing beats my boy’s sweet head snuggled into my chest and arms wrapped around my neck because, as he said, “I a wittle (little) scared!” Oh, sweet Gabe. You melt my heart!

Moving onto the topic at hand. Thrifting! It’s like treasure hunting for grown ups. I love it. Our home is filled with thrifted treasures. From furniture, to art, to kitchen items, to clothes. We own a lot of second hand items. Not only does it save a lot of money, it has (in my opinion) so much more character than new, store bought items. I wanted to share some tips and tricks that I’ve learned. And then, of course, share a couple pictures of my thrifted finds!

Thrifting 101:

1. Go often. Thrift stores are always putting out new items. The good things don’t always last very long. Go often. Like weekly. Or more, if you can.

2. Be prepared to leave empty handed. It’s OK to walk out without a treasure. More often than not, I don’t bring anything home.

3. Think. If I see something that intrigues me, I put it in my cart. And I think about it. You can always change your mind and put something back if, after some thought, you realize it’s just not what you want or need.

4. Make laps. I always make multiple laps around the store. Like three or more. Why? Because it can be sensory overload at first. So much stuff. It’s easy to miss something at first glance. Lots of time I don’t find anything until the second lap.

5. Get to know the boss man (or woman). In one of my frequented thrift stores, I know the boss and the boss knows me. We’re on a first name basis. I kid you not. It’s great! If I find something I like (mainly larger items) I just find Mike and practice a little negotiating. When he sees me walk in, he usually says, “If you find something you like, let me know! I’ll help you out!” It also helps to know the boss when you find something that’s not technically for sale. For example, I found an old wooden crate holding books and really wanted the crate. So I found Mike and worked out a deal. I also found a great step stool that was probably used in the store (it didn’t have a price tag) but again, I found Mike and worked a deal.

6. Don’t be afraid to bargain. Even if you don’t know the boss man, find someone that works there and make an offer. My sister in law found a hanging chandelier that she liked, but it was marked at $50. I found someone that worked there (not the boss) and, after some back and forth, settled at $27.50!

7. Be open minded. Sometimes things just need a little TLC or a coat of paint.

8. Think outside the box. Items can have more than one purpose. For example, I found a 2004 calendar and brought it home. Why? Because it has beautiful prints of Monet paintings and at 10 cents (less than a penny a print) it makes really cheap art!

Previously I had a white dresser against this wall in our dining room, but I wanted something with more storage. So I sold the white dresser on Craig’s List and used the money the buy this. (Here’s an example of how it pays off to know the boss man.) It was priced at $50 but I got it for, oh dear, I can’t remember exactly now… $25 or $30. The same price I sold the white dresser for. Win! The burlap sack is also in a thrifted frame. (The old windows leaning against the wall are a project in the works.)

The picture and the frame are both thrifted, but at different times. I can’t remember how much the frame was, but no more than 25 cents. The picture was 25 cents. They fit together perfectly. *I loved this painting, but the colors were originally a bit bright for me. I took some dark stain, rubbed it over the painting and wiped it off to give it a more antique look.*

I believe this mirror was $1.50 and is one of my favorite finds.

The large flower painting was a huge score at the thrift store. $3.50. Yes! The boat picture was $2. The ‘Zora’ hanging is the end of a crate, I believe. My mom gave it to me.

This is an old rice sack I’ve been carrying around. When I gave our downstairs bathroom a little makeover, I remembered this and decided it’d make the perfect window covering. I was inspired by my dear friend, Sara, who has burlap sacks hanging over her bedroom windows. I think it’s charming. (Yes, this is also the header image of the blog!)

You probably recognize this picture from yesterday’s post. But this plate was thrifted for 25 cents. There were two of them and they’re my new favorite plates to eat from.

I got two of these green glasses for 50 cents total. I love them. And the glass vases/bottles were 25 cents a piece.

This is a thrifted lamp that sits on Gabe’s little table. I believe it was, oh, $1. And the lampshade was a quick diy project with rope and hot glue.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my thrifted treasures and are inspired to get out and go treasure hunting! Have a blessed day! Thanks for reading.

 July 5, 2012  Posted by at 09:18 diy, our home No Responses »
Jul 042012

Happy Fourth of July! I hope everyone has a great day… and stays cool. I heard on the news that this will be one of the hottest fourths in history. Wow! But not hard to believe. I’ll be back tomorrow with some more original RICE ideas, but in the meantime I thought I’d share a delicious summer recipe from a REAL SIMPLE magazine. It’s our new favorite meal. So easy, so delicious and so cheap!

chicken, squash, and chickpea salad with tahini dressing

one medium butternut squash (about 2 pounds) peeled, seeded and cut into one inches pieces. *squash is kinda tricky to work with- slippery and hard to cut. be careful!*

4 TBS olive oil

kosher salt and black pepper

two 6 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts *trimmed and pounded thin. I use the bottom of a glass cup to pound my chicken*

1/3 c tahini (sesame seed paste) *I buy mine at Martin’s or our natural food store*

2 TBS fresh lemon juice *you can cheat and use lemon juice from a bottle*

1 tsp dried oregano

12 oz romaine hearts, cut into strips *I use a spinach and arugula. You can use any lettuce you like or have!*

one 15.5 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup pita chips, broken *I skip these*

2 TBS chopped fresh chives

1. Heat oven to 425. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash with 2 TBS olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Roast, tossing once, for 25-30 minutes, or until squash is tender. *If you don’t want to heat up the house with the oven, you could always try grilling the squash in one of those nifty grill baskets*

2. The original recipe says to roast the chicken breasts. I prefer browned chicken in a frying pan. So I used about 1 TBS of olive oil. Put it in a frying pan. Let it get nice and hot. Then add the chicken breasts. The key to browned chicken is (thanks Mom) a hot pan and dry meat. Then leave it alone. I flipped the chicken once to brown the other side and finish cooking. Sprinkle each side with a little salt and pepper while cooking. Let cool slightly and slice thinly. It took maybe 20ish minutes to cook the meat.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, oregano, 1 TBS oil, 1/3 c water, 1/4 each of salt and pepper. Divide the lettuce (of your choice) among the plates. Top with squash, chicken, chickpeas, pita chips (if you want them) and chives. Serve with dressing.

*If the dressing is too thick, add water until it’s the consistency you want. Tahini is rather thick, so it does take a little water to get a good consistency. I also added a splash of tamari (gluten free soy sauce) because tahini and tamari is one of my favorite combos!*

According to REAL SIMPLE, this costs less than $2.25 a serving! It’s so tasty and looks so nice on the plate.


 July 4, 2012  Posted by at 09:42 entertaining, in the kitchen 1 Response »
Jul 032012

I’m in the middle of a bathroom makeover (which will be featured here soon). Once I got the new paint (leftover from the kitchen) on the walls, the shower curtain just wasn’t doing it for me. It’s a nice curtain, just not the style I was going for. Since there was no way I was spending money to buy a new one (they’re expensive!) I decided to make one. It was easy. Completely free (I had everything I needed). And I love the results. You can make one, too!

What you need:

1. Fabric.

2. A sewing machine. I suppose you could hand sew it. But that would take quite a while.

3. Twine or something similar for the hooks.

Here’s what I did:

1. I rummaged through my (rather large) fabric collection and found fabric that was almost as big as our shower curtain. (I held it up to compare so I never actually measured.) It was just a couple inches too narrow, which I could work with. But it was nearly a foot too short. So I rummaged some more and found coordinating fabric to add as a panel along the bottom.

2. I laid the large piece of fabric out flat, right side down. Then I measured up two inches from the bottom and made marks the whole way across the fabric. This is where I attached the extra panel. I pinned frequently, then sewed it on.

3. I took the pins out and flipped the fabric right side up. I sewed another line connecting the two panels. I didn’t pin this time for two reasons. One: I was impatient. Two: I wanted it to look more bunchy and imperfect. Ok, that second reason is a lie. But once I got sewing and realized it was going to be a little bunchy and imperfect, I liked it. So my impatience paid off… this time.

4. Since the selvage edges are the top and bottom, there was no need to hem those. All I needed to hem was the two sides. Piece of cake. I used pins this time.

5. Next, I laid my new shower curtain out flat on the floor, right side down. Then I took the real shower curtain, lined up the edges and laid it on top of the new shower curtain. This is how I knew where to put the loops for the hooks. I used a washable fabric marker and marked on the new curtain where each grommet on the real shower curtain was. Because my new curtain was a few inches too short, I had one less hole/hook. Not a problem.

6. I used twine, as shown in the picture below, and attached it to the back side of the curtain, in loops, where I had marked where each grommet had been. I sewed back and forth and back and forth many many times to make it strong. These loops are what hold the curtain up. (My fabric marker wipes right off with a wet rag, so when I was done sewing the loops, I wiped the marks away).

7. Hang it up and marvel at your creation!

You might be wondering why the shower curtain is hanging on the fence and not at the shower. That’s because the bathroom makeover is still a work in progress and I don’t want to share bathroom pictures until it’s done. You also might be wondering why there’a pot in front of the curtain and that’s because it was windy and the pot was the closet, cute thing to hold the curtain down.

See that bunchy, imperfect area where the two fabrics meet? I like it.

The twine loops that act as hooks.

This was one of the easiest projects. It took about 30 minutes, from start to finish. The only tricky part was managing such a large piece of fabric. I hope you’re inspired!

*Fabric can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Walmart has $1.50/yard fabric and if you check often, you can usually find some nice pattern/solids. Both of these fabrics were from Walmart*

Note: This is just a shower curtain. You’ll still need a liner or you’ll have a very wet bathroom! Since my curtain is a little narrower than the standard curtain, I will just cut the liner to match. Plastic shower curtains are very easy to trim. Fabric shower curtains are very easy to hem.

 July 3, 2012  Posted by at 16:52 diy 2 Responses »
Jul 032012

I was walking through Walmart this morning (if you have to go to Walmart, early morning is the best time because there are the fewest people… or late at night, but who am I kidding, I’m ready for bed before most people have eaten dinner)… anyway, I was walking through Walmart and spotted these cute little vases. They’d be perfect to make your own place cards, as shown here. At 97 cents a piece, they could even be used as wedding favors. I imagine having a table full of an assortment of small vases, filled with various blooms or grasses, tied with some twine, with white tags hanging from them. You could write guests’ names and table numbers on the tags, or you could simply write a small note of thanks and the wedding date. Or use them at your next dinner party and your guests can take them home. Or save them and use them again and again. Lots of possibilities.

In our Walmart, they are back behind the fabric section, with fake flowers and other glass vases. Of course, you can also scour thrift stores for vases, which would be my preference. Who doesn’t love a good thrift hunt? But adding some of these into a thrifted mix would work, too!

Speaking of thrifting, coming up I’ll be sharing some of my thrifting finds and tips!

Thanks for coming by!

 July 3, 2012  Posted by at 14:27 diy, entertaining No Responses »
Jul 032012

The first post! It’s been a long time coming and I’m so glad it’s finally here. We’re still a serious work in progress and will be changing greatly over the next days and weeks. But sometimes you just have to go for it. So here it goes. Perhaps you’re wondering what you’ll find here. You’re not alone. I’m wondering a bit, too! You’ll find projects I’m working on. Recipes I like. Articles that encourage me. Images that inspire me. Things I’d like to try. Things I’d like to make. Tours of our ever changing home. And perhaps, if you’re lucky, a few pictures of the cutest, sweetest two year old you’ll ever see. I hope you come by often. You can expect regular posts. At the least, once a day. Maybe, hopefully, more. But please be patient as we get things rolling. I would love to hear from you. I’d love to hear what you think, what you like, what you’d like to see, or just to introduce yourself. We can live simply, creatively, together!

And because a post isn’t complete without a picture, here you go. You don’t need a big event to have a fun dinner party. And you don’t need to spend tons of money or time. Saturday night we had some family over and I used it as an excuse to get crafty.

A simple download made these lovely menus. Perched on top of light gray napkins tied with twine, in front of place cards, this menu was a fun way to decorate the table and let our family know what they’d be eating!

To make your own menu (or table number, invitation, RSVP card etc) click here!

Preparing for ten people (half of them being children 4 and under) around the table, I decided to make place cards. My tip: use what you have! I rounded up my old, small glass vases, wrapped them with some twine, filled them with some airy grasses and twirly things and finished them with white tags, where I wrote each name. White tags like this can be found at Walmart. I use them frequently as gift tags and now place cards!

Are you hosting a party for the fourth? Having friends for dinner this weekend? Use it as an excuse to get crafty! Have a blessed day and be inspired!

 July 3, 2012  Posted by at 11:07 diy, entertaining 5 Responses »