Author Archives: Ashley Fontaine

Winter Gifts: Lavender Scented Heatables

Winter Gifts: Lavender Scented Heatables

Winter weather often inspires me to get crafty, because I spend more time indoors and holidays are my favorite part of the season. I love giving homemade gifts!

This year I was inspired by our chilly-ass office and one of our team members who wears a coat 24/7 indoors, to make these heatable packs as gifts. All you gotta do is pop it in the microwave and you have a nice little personal heater to warm you up. They are super easy to make, last a long time, and you can customize their size as much as you want. I have one that I made back in 2010 and it still works like a champ.

Things you will need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Uncooked rice
  • Dried lavender or lavender oil (or other scent you like – I mixed rosemary in with a few, you can get creative)

Note, these should not get wet! Wet rice turns into cooked rice…which is not what you want in your heatable.

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DIY Patio Chair Facelift


My husband rescued these patio chairs from a work job where they were getting tossed out.


At first I was like… “Really? These are so ugly.” but he insisted they were sturdier than our cheapo set (which he, my sister, and my cousin assembled out of a box, if that tells you anything). And he was right. They’re better quality. The leg joints don’t make my worried it might break the minute I sit in it. So there’s that.

I started looking around for ideas on how to give these chairs a makeover. I had a nice canvas fabric in blues and greens that I’ve moved at least 4 times and had yet to use. This seemed as good a time as any to actually cut into it and make something. I used the fabric color scheme to inspire my paint choices.


This project has two parts: spray painting the metal of the chairs, and sewing new covers for the cushions. If you’re doing initial research like I did, let me say now: *You CAN spray paint the mesh fabric on your chairs!*

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Mini Pantry Paint Job


I’ve mentioned The Buy Nothing Project before, and I continue to get cool stuff pretty regularly through my local group. In our new apartment, there’s a lot less cabinet space (which I happily traded for a fenced in yard!)  but after being here for a month and a half I was really losing patience with the remaining two boxes of food and kitchen utensils taking up space in the dining area.

I got a small cabinet through the group and decided to spray paint it a different color to bring some brightness into the kitchen (and because the blonde wood color really clashes with the dark wood cabinets and bright yellow countertops – yep, our new kitchen is straight out of 1972. Look, I told you, there’s a yard. I would do anything for an outdoor space, so here we are).



Pardon the clutter and stray patches of dirt on my patio, we’re still unpacking and I’ve been doing a lot of yard work and planting (I’ve even got a raspberry plant going!)

When you’re spray painting anything, make sure you have a large drop cloth of some kind to cover the area you’re working in (I even put a trash bag over my raspberry plant so it wouldn’t get any stray mist on it). It’s also important to tape off any areas you don’t want to paint:


Follow the directions on your spray paint for how long you should let it dry.


Then you can take off the tape and paper when you’re satisfied.


Pro tip: If you get any stray spray paint where you don’t want it, a little bit of nail polish remover can usually take it right off if it’s relatively fresh.

Stay tuned for another spray paint adventure soon – I have some janky patio chairs that we salvaged and are going to makeover before our June apartment warming BBQ! That’s my ambition, anyway.

DIY Photo Coasters


Another year, another new apartment. On the bright side, whenever we move I get inspired to decorate and make stuff. I finally have a quasi-office again, which means space for crafting!

I made these coasters to go in a birthday/post-vacation blues care package for my BFF. We went on an awesome cruise at the beginning of March and I thought this would be a fun way to have some of the cool stuff we saw on display.

Things you will need:

  • tile from the hardware store
  • mod podge
  • scissors
  • foam or soft bristle paint brush
  • rubber or cork “bumpers” (tiny discs with adhesive backing) for your coaster feet
  • prints of the photos you want to use (or cut outs, favorite quotes, etc)

IMG_5892Make sure your tile is clean. Paint a thin layer of mod podge onto your tile, then lay your photo on top of it. Next, paint a thin layer of mod podge on top of the photo.


Let dry, then do a second (and third) coat. The key is to keep your layers thin and let them dry completely before doing the next coat. I tried to give two of them a kind of antique/rough look by hand scraping the photo while it was still damp.

Last, affix the feet to your coaster.



This was a surprisingly easy craft project. Of course, after I finally got started I thought of some other things I could have added to make them a little fancier – but maybe I’ll do the project again sometime soon.

Watercolor Mugs


This is part 1 of some DIY holiday gifts I’ll be attempting. I finally felt the craft urge… it’s only been 9 months! I’ve been spending what free time I do have on photography, so crafting has taken a backseat.

Time has been going by so quickly that I find myself not doing the holiday or other gifts I usually enjoy, because the holiday is upon me before I realize it! This year, i wanted to make something for my staff. I thought these watercolor mugs would be just the thing!

Things you’ll need:

  • Plain white ceramic mugs – these are at the craft store, the dollar store, and lots of other places.
  • A plastic container that’s large enough to dip the entire mug in
  • Warm water
  • Various nail polishes of your choosing
  • Some nail polish remover and paper towels or q-tips (in case you don’t like the way something looks)
  • Toothpicks, bobby pins, or bamboo skewers – just something small you can use to stir things around if needed
  • Cardboard or a junky towel to put your mugs on while they dry
  • Optional: Shellac spray


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Ombre Dresser DIY


Months ago I joined a group on Facebook called Buy Nothing after circuitously reading an article about the project. So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see this great community of giving in my own little neighborhood: “Give where you live” is the motto. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out! Giving through the group generally feels better than receiving, but I was pretty excited when someone posted a dresser they wanted to part ways with, which had seen better days. I had ideas for that thing! (Plus dreams about not sharing one lone dresser with my husband anymore)

The dresser as it was kindly dropped off by a neighbor I didn't realize lived on my block.

The dresser as it was kindly dropped off by a Buy Nothing member I didn’t realize lived on my block. Her partner even brought it to my door, it was so nice and neighborly 🙂

At first I had a few different concepts in mind, but I was quickly waylaid by the fact that it had already been painted many times in its previous life and needed to be sanded down. Living in a condo with no immediate outdoor access, I was worried about how I would accomplish that. Luckily, a lovely friend of mine loaned me his sander which even has a little catch bag attached to it, so the sawdust wasn’t flying all over the place. I’m sure my neighbors appreciated sawdust not getting all over their balconies as well. (Thanks to my husband for doing about 75% of the sanding, too. My shoulder injury made it difficult to do it all myself.) Note: I did attempt to use some liquid paint stripper first, but I found that as it ate through the many layers, to get the last bit off was really tough and ended up with me gouging the wood with my scraper. I switched over to sanding after that, and it was labor intensive. Read the rest of this entry

Thrift Store End Table


I saw this little end table at St. Vincent DePaul’s thrift store when we first moved to Seattle last year – for $3! We had gotten rid of the super rickety table we used next to our couch (which had maybe collapsed once or twice…) when we moved so I figured this could be the replacement. I had visions for it.

End Table

$3? Sold!

Of course, it’s laminate which I was worried about how I would paint. Research suggested that instead of trying to sand it down, which would just damage the laminate, to buy some especially sticky primer. I got Zinsser 1-2-3 primer per some suggestions from other crafty folks online. I took off the back (a little panel only blocking the back of the top shelf) and got to work.

I originally thought I would make it a nice teal color, but as I painted with the primer, I realized I really liked the look of it remaining white and wood. So here’s what I ended up with:

Primer coat

Primer coat

Then I finished it with a “delicate white” eggshell paint that I bought for another project which I will post about later this month.

Completed makeover.

Makeover complete!

Later I can always change my mind if I want it to be teal after all — I still have more primer!