Saint Patrick’s Day Inspiration: Six Cute Shamrock Craft Ideas

With Saint Patty’s day fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some craft and decorating ideas for the holiday — and thanks to Pinterest, that ever-addictive curator of eye candy, good examples are easy to find. So without further ado, here are six cute and clever shamrock-based craft ideas for Saint Patrick’s Day:

#1 – Paper Shamrock Garland

This first shamrock garland was made by cutting shamrock shapes out of green and white cardstock and then stringing them on a long piece of ribbon:

A simple handcrafted shamrock garland. Image from here.

It has a clean, simple aesthetic that would probably fit in well with any decorating style, and even though there isn’t a tutorial available for it, it seems like the sort of thing that could be pretty easy to DIY. (Or, you could save time and just order one from the Etsy listing.)

#2 – Saint Patrick’s Day Book Banner

This next banner is a little more complex-looking, using repurposed pages from an old book along with some buttons for decoration:

A shamrock banner made using book pages. Detailed tutorial available here.

The creator of this banner writes a blog titled “Simple As That,” and describes this as really simple to make — check out the tutorial for a detailed guide and a link to the shamrock template she used for it.

#3 – Paper Shamrock Garland

This last Saint Patrick’s Day garland is probably the most complex-looking one I’ve found anywhere on the internet, and I think it’s quite lovely:

An intricate handmade shamrock garland. Available on Etsy here.

Since it’s another Etsy item, there’s no tutorial available for making one like it, but it might get your creative juices flowing to see the kinds of complex things that can be made using nothing but paper. Check out the artist’s Etsy store to see a lot more nifty handmade paper creations.

#4 – Simple Paper Shamrocks

This next paper shamrock might look pretty simple compared to that last one, but it’s probably more doable for us busy average folks, involving just a series of folds and staples:

A simple but clever paper shamrock. Tutorial available here.

This one comes from a blog called “The Crafting Chicks,” and the author describes how it was made by a 12-year-old — to read that story and find the instructions for making a string of these paper shamrocks, check out her blog post here.

#5 – Recycled Toilet Paper Roll Shamrocks

I thought this next one was pretty clever. It’s just toilet paper rolls cut and pinched in a certain way, and then glued together, forming shamrock shapes:

Shamrocks made from toilet paper rolls. Tutorial available here.

The tutorial comes from a blog titled “Childmade: An Idea Place” and has detailed step-by-step instructions for transforming your old toilet paper rolls into something fun and festive, along with plenty of photos, and even some examples of what they look like painted green. Check out the whole thing here.

#6 – Shamrock Ribbon

And finally, here are these sweet and simple shamrock ribbons, which can be worn as a pin on your clothing, or just stuck to a bulletin board for decoration purposes:

A simple shamrock made from ribbon. Tutorial available here.

It actually comes from the same place as the toilet paper roll project — there seem to be lots of cute ideas on that site — and the tutorial has all the details on how to fold and glue the ribbon to get it to stay in that shamrock shape. You can check it out here.

The Pinterest Challenge?

On a semi-related topic, I’ve recently become aware of this thing called “The Pinterest challenge,” where a bunch of craft / home / lifestyle bloggers challenge each other to actually make something inspired by Pinterest instead of just pinning and wasting time and whatnot — more info on the challenge can be found here, here, here, or here. I thought it would be pretty fun to join in and make some kind of Saint Patty’s Day craft between now and Wednesday, when the challenge ends.

So with that being said, what general kind of project do you think I should try to make? A banner for the living room? Paper shamrocks to decorate the house? Some kind of shamrock ribbon headband for Lillian? Cast your votes in the comments, and feel free to share any cute or inspiring ideas as well!

Hanging Curtain Rods on Plaster Walls

The last time I blogged about the living room window blinds that came with our house, I went into exquisite detail about how ugly, broken, and potentially dangerous they were. (In case you missed it or think I’m exaggerating, check out my ranty post about their irredeemable awfulness from a few weeks back.) It was self-evident from the beginning that those old blinds had to go.

But what to replace them with? In classic guy fashion, Joe wasn’t very picky — he just wanted something functional that would provide privacy at night, since our living room windows look right out on the street.

But my preferences were more specific. Crazy specific, you might say. I wanted curtains, but not just any curtains… curtains that were easy to open and close. None of this nonsense of wasting 15 seconds every day messing around with them. My dream was to be able to stand in one place, pull a cord in each hand, and fill the room with light in a single fluid motion. Like being queen of the world.

Those preferences pretty much meant draperies on a traverse rod, and happily, our living room has pretty much the ideal setup for that. There’s the narrow span of wall between the two windows where both cords can go, and there’s even a big old radiator in front of it, so that once the cords are anchored to the wall, they’ll be pretty well out of sight and out of reach of little baby hands. For reference purposes, here’s that shot of the entire window wall again:

The living room windows as seen when we moved in.

As for actually hanging curtain rods on our walls, there was one little detail that complicated matters: our walls are plaster and lath, not drywall. This is important because one of the first things we did was pick up a stud finder, to locate the studs in our walls, so we’d know where to attach the curtain rods… only to learn the hard way that stud finders generally do not work when you have plaster and lath. Maybe there are some super turbo ones that do, but ours just kept going off randomly and inaccurately no matter where on the wall we placed it. (In the words of Rick Perry, “oops.”)

So that left two basic courses of action:

  1. Use some kind of toggle bolts or wall anchors that are specifically designed to secure things to plaster walls.
  2. Drill holes randomly and see if we hit something solid. (Keeping in mind the dangers of getting carried away, of course.)

Or better yet, drill the holes where we wanted them, and then if there’s nothing solid enough to hold the screws, make use of the anchors. There seem to be quite a few different kinds of wall anchors designed for just this purpose, but the ones we were considering using looked something like this:

Product image from here.

But when I started drilling into the walls above the window, I noticed immediately that there was a lot of resistance — like I was drilling into very hard, very solid wood. There did seem to be a point past which the wall hollowed out, so maybe the solidness was just the lath (aka the wooden slats the plaster sticks to.) But whatever it was, it had no problems holding the screws in place when I drilled them straight in.

A random closeup of one of the curtain brackets.

And despite some vague fears that the curtain rods would just fall right down again, I think they’ve proven themselves to be attached quite securely. The rods actually went up in early October (I guess you can chalk that up to pregnancy nesting energy in the last weeks before Lily was born) and the curtains themselves have been up since early last week. So far, there hasn’t been the slightest sign of wobbliness, instability, cracks in the walls, or anything else that might suggest a problem, though if any of that ever changes I’ll be sure to add an addendum to this post.

Here’s how the bare rods looked for four months or so, between when we put them up and when we actually added the curtains:

One of the new curtain rods, with the blinds still on the windows below.

As the photo above shows, we took a “high and wide” approach to hanging the curtains — high to emphasize the vertical height of the windows, which I think was a good move considering the radiator situation below them, and wide so that when the curtains are open, they’ll block as little window as possible. But the curtains themselves are a subject for their own post, since they were kind of a DIY hack job… so stay tuned for the epic finale to this series of posts about living room window treatments!

In the meantime, I’d be curious to hear from anyone who’s had experiences attaching things to plaster walls, whether it was curtain rods or photo frames or something else entirely. How difficult was it? Did the results turn out as expected? Should we expect our walls to cave in six months from now? Feel free to share any thoughts or stories in the comments.

I’ve Decided It’s Spring Now, And Other Bloggy Updates

Maybe it’s the mild(ish) weather, or maybe it’s the fact that the date contains the word “March” now, but I’ve gotten an undeniable urge to update the blog design to something brighter and more springtimey. You’ve probably already seen it if you’re reading this post, but I’ll include a screenshot just to be thorough:

Screenshot of the new springtime bloggy design. Sorry it isn't recursive like the last one.

I know it’s a little premature — spring doesn’t technically start until the 20th, and some of the biggest blizzards in Chicago history have hit in March — but I guess I was just getting sick of looking at the cold wintery design I put up back in December. I may have gone overboard a little with the bright springiness to compensate, so let me know if it’s making your eyes bleed.

Also, unlike all the previous designs where I was just tweaking the look of the same premade WordPress theme, for this one I’ve switched to a completely different framework, so please let me know if anything looks like it’s not working right in the browser and/or operating system you’re using.

And as long as I’m on the subject, I might as well give a few other bloggy updates:

  • I’ve been having some trouble with my email subscription plugin, so if you’ve tried subscribing but haven’t seen the last couple posts pop up in your inbox, that’s probably why. (Sorry about that.) To avoid confusion, I’ve temporarily removed the subscription box from the blog sidebar until I can get everything sorted out, but in the meantime the RSS feed should still be working fine.
  • I just noticed yesterday that a couple of legitimate comments had gotten caught by my spam filter. I was able to manually approve them, but comments are only held in the spam folder for about two weeks before they get deleted permanently, so now I’m wondering if there have been other non-spam comments that have gotten caught and deleted without my ever having seen them. I’ll try to be better about checking the spam folder, but if you ever submit a comment and it hasn’t appeared within a day or so, feel free to contact me and I’ll take a look.

Those two updates probably make it sound like things are falling slap apart around here, but I swear everything else about the blog has been humming along perfectly smoothly as far as I can tell. Anyway, stand by for your regularly-scheduled house and baby related bloggings, which shall resume shortly!

Update: The original version of this post included a different image, but since I was tweaking the layout again within a day of posting it, I’ve decided to replace it with a screenshot of the current version. (Hopefully this one will stick, haha…)