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Simple DIY Spring Ideas

Get ready for warmer weather and Easter with these easy and elegant crafts and recipes.

Easy Concrete Decor Crafts

You can make these easy, cheap yet modern home decor ideas. Nothing says forever like a little stone, right?

Stuck on decoupage.

Transform everyday items into something pretty and functional. Click here for tons of decoupage ideas!

Simple AND Yummy.

Need a quick and easy dessert idea? Click here for recipes and inspiration!

Click here for easy jewelry tutorials.

Dollar store and upcycled wearable crafts... Yes, you can make them!

April 14, 2014

My All-Time Favorite DIY Project

Madigan made… a fav little project that is under construction.

Gosh. I am a bursting with so many emotions as I write this post. Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as much or been online a lot the past couple of months. There’s a good reason for that… I’m working on another little (soon to be big) project. Let me explain…

Where do I start?

Well, let’s begin at the beginning… do you know the very personal story of our one guest room? For many years, my husband and I had always pegged that room to be a nursery once we had children. Unfortunately, we had issues trying to conceive and we spent many years dealing with the sadness and frustration of that situation… and this boring, unfinished room was a reminder (to me) of that fact.

I told you about this bedroom and our infertility struggles back in the spring of 2012. After several years of living our lives in ‘limbo’ and waiting, I knew at that time that I had to move on and ‘live’. So, I slowly transformed that bedroom and space into something we could actively use… my home office. I wanted it to be a light, happy space, filled with lots of color and personal touches.

Living for ‘today’ was a goal I had moving forward as I started to work on that room in 2012.

I have to say that in 2013, my husband and I took that mission to heart. We went on more vacations. Tim joined a club and golfed more. I did more with my blog, went to conferences and made more blogging friends that year. I curled and let my hair down more. I started to regularly exercise, watched what I ate and tried to live more healthy. Life was good… and very tentatively… my husband and I started to talk about a future that might not involve children in our lives. (not an easy discussion, mind you… we always had hope… but being in our late 30’s, we knew life without our own children was a possibility.)

I’ve heard that prayers are often answered when you least expect it… and that is what happened late this past December. Tim commented to me offhandedly one day that I was taking a lot of naps and I blamed the holidays for my exhaustion. BUT… on a hunch, I took a pregnancy test and it was POSITIVE! We were floored, excited and slightly terrified all at the same time!

I really don’t know how to express this in words… but we are so thrilled to be given a chance at this little gift of life… one that we weren’t sure we’d ever receive.

This event is truly is my all-time favorite DIY project… and that is where my energy and focus has been lately… growing a tiny human being!

This little collaborative ‘DIY project’ is due to be completed in late August!

Now that I’m in the middle of my second trimester (I’m about 5 months along), I’m starting to feel better lately and hope to be able to share a little more here and elsewhere online. So, get ready for some baby related news, posts and projects here on Madigan Made and on my social media channels. I am so excited to prepare for and meet our little one… and share more about this wonderful gift with y’all!

P.S. It’s a girl, too! (if you follow me on Instagram, you may be able to spot some of the nursery details I’ve been planning in my head and starting to work on. Stay tuned for more!)

April 9, 2014

DIY Jewelry Trinket Box

Madigan made… a DIY trinket box with bow detail.

DIY trinket box with bow detail

I’m a sucker for cute little boxes and gift packages, aren’t you?

I made this jewelry box last year for my husband’s niece and I just realized I never showed it to you. A sweet and simple storage box like this would be a nice little gift for any gal you know… like maybe for Mom this coming Mother’s Day?

To make this container, I picked up a plain wooden box from the dollar store and decorated with paint and a metal bow detail. I found the bows in the jewelry section of the craft store on clearance.

Want to see how to make one? It is pretty simple.

Simple DIY jewelry box with bow detail

DIY Jewelry Box

Supplies used:

  • Wooden box
  • Drill
  • Metal bow (or other metal decorative piece)
  • Craft paint
  • Brush
  • Metallic wax rub
  • Strong adhesive glue (i.e.. E6000)

Steps to make the jewelry box:

Given that my metallic bow had a metal “loop’ in the back, I needed to make room for that obstruction. I drilled a small hole in the center of the lid’s front edge. This allowed for the ‘loop’ to fit inside and let the metal bow sit flush with the front of the lid.

Then, I gave the entire box two coats of purple craft paint.

For an added metallic detail, I carefully applied some silver metallic wax rub along the edges of the lid. A little goes a long way with this stuff!

Finally, I glued my metal bow to the front of the box’s lid, over the hole I drilled and filled the box with a little gift for our niece.

 DIY trinket or jewelry box with bow detail.

You can make these little boxes in any color you want. I love how the metal bow gave the box just enough detail to make it feel special. The bow also is a nice ‘handle’ one can grab to help open the lid. If you can’t find a metal bow, any pretty decorative metallic piece could look cute on the front of the box.

Either way you make it, a gift always looks more special wrapped in a cute little box, right?(especially one that can be reused!)

March 31, 2014

A little spring cleaning for the blog.

Madigan made… a few blog updates.

This time of year many of us like to air out our houses, deep clean and spruce things up a bit. Well, that same principle can apply to our online spaces, too. I’ve been growing tired of my blog’s look and logo for some time now. I haven’t moved my site over to WordPress yet for a full update… but I wanted to make a few quick changes for the site this spring.

The blog design is still the same layout… I just updated my logo, cleaned up my side bar and changed some of the colors to freshen up the site. Simple changes, but they make a big difference in how the site feels to me.

I want to thank my youngest brother, Brian, for the logo design. It is simple, clean and classic – which is exactly the look I wanted. The logo kind of evokes an “American Made” vintage stamp, right? (That was the general inspiration for the design.) And the blue color is so pretty!

You also may note the new tag line: Creative Living Made Simple.

I think this statement summarizes my goals for Madigan Made succinctly… I hope to continue to bring you, my readers, simple and creative solutions for your life… be it home décor ideas to easy recipes.

Someday soon I hope to move to WordPress, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying these small spring cleaning changes!

Do you find yourself looking to make little changes around your spaces this time of year? Small updates can make a big difference, don’t you think?

March 28, 2014

How to Make a Lamp from a Bottle

Madigan made… a DIY lamp from a vase.

How to make a DIY lamp from a glass bottle or vase

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… when I can’t find what I’m looking for, sometimes the best solution is for me to make it myself. Today’s DIY lamp project is no exception.

I had a specific idea in mind for what I needed in our family room next to our new sofa. I found a classic, marble topped table at the thrift store last year to serve as a small side table next to the couch (I liked how the grays in the marble complemented the color of the sofa). But I was not sure what kind of lighting to use on top of that table.

DIY glass lamp on top of a marble topped table

Lamps can vary in price and size depending on where you're looking.  I wanted a lamp that had a blue turquoise color to it that would pick up some of the blues from my vintage gallery wall. And, ideally, I wanted it to be made of glass to pick up some of the other glass elements in the room (like my DIY fishing floats). This is a small room and I did not need a huge, heavy lamp to dominate the space.

I did not want a big lamp… but I did not desire a tiny lamp, either. I also hoped to find the lamp for a cheap price, too. Gosh, I’m asking a lot, aren’t I? Haha!

Unfortunately, the lighting selection I found in the stores was either the wrong size, wrong color or too expensive. So, when I spotted this pretty blue bottle-like vase on clearance for a few dollars at the craft store, I snapped it up and brought it home. I thought its color and size would make a great table lamp base.

With a few modifications, a carbide drill bit and some basic wiring tools/skills you can turn any glass bottle into a lamp. It's pretty cool and I was surprised at how easy it was to do.

How to make a DIY lamp from  a glass bottle

Let me show you how I made it:

DIY Lamp from a Bottle

Supplies used:

(Note: The links in this list are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, off of purchases via those links.)

how to make a lamp from a bottle - easy tutorial

Steps taken:

First, I cleaned out my vase. Then I picked a location for the wire to thread through at the bottom of the vase and marked it with a piece of painters tape.

how to make a lamp from a glass bottle - be sure to protect yourself as you make it!

Next, I made sure to protect myself with eyewear and a dust mask. I did not want to have any pieces of glass or glass dust fly into my eyes or mouth. I also wore gloves, just in case the bottle broke as I was drilling. I did not need a trip to the emergency room from a cut that day!

how to make a lamp from a bottle - easy tutorial

I secured the vase between two 10 pound hand weights and using the carbide drill bit, I very, very slowly drilled a hole through the painters tape and glass. I stopped frequently as I drilled to allow the bit to cool down and to clean out any dust that was gathering in the hole I drilled. My vase was rather thick, so it took me quite a long time (maybe 30 minutes or more) to drill through the whole vase. Thankfully, the bottle did not crack and the hole was pretty clean.

how to make a lamp from a bottle - easy tutorial

Once the hole was created, I ran the wire through that hole and up through the top of the vase. I used a rubber stopper from my lighting kit that fit into my bottle's opening. I then attached and wired the lamp assembly by following the instructions on the kit package.  I am not an electrician, so I won't go into great detail here about how to wire the assembly… but I will say that the package instructions were pretty clear and easy to follow.

Once the lamp was wired, I attached the harp and a white lampshade that I picked up at IKEA. I also reused a decorative finial from an old lamp. I just gave it a coat of turquoise blue craft paint to match the rest of my new light.

I love the way the lamp looks sitting on the marble side table next to our new gray sofa. The light shines through the blue glass and I don't even mind you can see the cord in the lamp.  A few accessories like milk glass, my concrete vase and a blue Mason jar look great sitting next to it.

DIY lamp made from a glass vase

After all my searching, I’m so glad I decided to make my own lighting. My new lamp was relatively inexpensive to create (compared to what I saw in the stores) and it works in our room the way I hoped it would! The lamp is a great size for the space.  I also love how the blue in the base picks up the turquoise colors in the couch pillow and some of the decorative plates in my vintage gallery wall art.

I have to say that I am looking at old bottles and vases with fresh eyes now. Suddenly, I want to turn all the interesting ones I see into lamps!

Want more DIY glass bottle lamp ideas? I found these three lamp projects at Inspired Room, House & Home and Pondered, Primed & Perfected as I investigated how to make my own.

And if you like this DIY lamp project, be sure to check out a few of the others I’ve created in the past:

DIY lamp project ideas

March 25, 2014

My Gallery Wall: Plates, Hoops & Medallions, Oh My!

Madigan made… a gallery wall with plates, embroidery hoops and ceiling medallions.

Simple and lovely DIY gallery wall art using vintage plates, fabric and ceiling medallions. Love this!

Do you know what happens when a group of ceiling medallions, a vintage plate collection and an embroidery hoop gallery wall collides? You end up with a unique, fun and personal art display for your family room. My kinda wall décor!

Our family room update is slowly… very slowly… coming together. I’ve shown you a few of my projects for this room. Do you remember the sad brown “before”? I’m trying to forget.

room decor before updates

This past year I repainted the room and made some accessories for the space (coasters, books, vases, and other décor) My goal for this room was to keep the wall paint and furniture neutral and bring in color with accessories using a CMYK (cyan-magenta-yellow-black/gray) color scheme.

After paint, the next big change we made in the room was to replace the furniture. We bought a large, boxy and modern sectional couch in a dark gray fabric last year to take the place of our old, ugly, orange-brown sofa. We loved the new gray couch but my dilemma was what to put on the wall above it. I wanted to hang something that was NOT modern or boxy looking. For me, the wall needed art of some kind that was a little more traditional/vintage and organic to contrast with the hard, modern lines of the couch.

And this art project took over a year for me to complete from start to finish… But it was so worth the wait!

DIY wall art made with vintage plates, fabric, hoops and ceiling medallions

At first, I began to collect vintage handkerchiefs in CMYK colors. I thought they’d look neat hanging above the couch, maybe in embroidery hoops or decoupaged onto plates. Then, I started spotting (and buying) pretty vintage floral plates in those same colors at thrift stores. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use plates or hoops. Finally, when I was experimenting and arranging all of these items on the floor one day (to visualize what they may look like on the wall), I offhandedly set one of the plates on top of a ceiling medallion nearby. THAT is when I knew I needed to layer all of these items together. And that is also when my long hunt for more fabric, hankies, plates and medallions kicked off!

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I probably showed you a lot of my plate and fabric finds. After many, many months of antique and thrift store searching, I started to assemble and hang my gallery wall. Let me show you how I did that.

 Simple and lovely DIY gallery wall art using vintage plates, fabric and ceiling medallions. Love this!

Warning: If you are someone that is easily upset when someone takes glue or scissors to an old or vintage item… I suggest you turn away now… because I did some major altering to my finds!

DIY Vintage Plate, Hoop and Ceiling Medallion Gallery Wall

Supplies used:

  • Bunches of vintage floral plates/bowls (Click here for my tips on sourcing your own vintage plates!)
  • Bunches of plain white plates with decorative edges, various sizes
  • Several ceiling medallions, in different shapes/sizes
  • Vintage floral fabric from old sheets and handkerchiefs
  • Embroidery hoops in various sizes
  • White craft paint
  • Brushes
  • E6000 adhesive
  • Hot glue gun
  • Balsa wood
  • Picture hanging strips
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Painter’s tape

Steps to make my gallery wall:

To make the layered vintage plates on top of plates:

I cleaned all of my plate finds in the dishwasher first. Then, I used E6000 glue to attach a smaller, decorative plate to a larger, plain white one.

To make the ceiling medallion and plate combination pieces:

First I gave all of the ceiling medallions a coat of glossy white spray paint. (To mimic the look of white ceramics.) Then, I used more E6000 glue and attached a small, decorative plate to the center of each one.

To make the layered embroidery hoops:

I first painted the embroidery hoops white with craft paint. Then I slipped the fabric from the old sheets and handkerchiefs into the hoops, tightened the hoops and trimmed the excess fabric with scissors.  Finally, I glued down the hoops to larger, white plates using dollops of hot glue.

To hang all of the pieces on the wall:

I used small nails in the wall to hang all of the ceiling medallions. To hang the plates on the wall I used stick-on picture hanging strips to avoid putting a lot of holes my walls. Sometimes…  I needed to glue sections of balsa wood to the back of the plates to ‘raise’ the strips up so that the sticky strips were flush with the wall. For the smaller, dessert-sized plates I used one medium set of  picture hanging strips. But for the larger, heavier, dinner-sized plates, I needed to 2-3 sets of strips on each one.

how to hang a vintage plate gallery wall

I came up with the idea to hang the pieces randomly by starting from the top corner of the couch and working my way down and out towards the edges. I loosely ‘sketched’ the shape of the pattern I wanted on the wall first by using painter’s tape. Then, I started to hang everything. I did my best to keep the pieces close to each other as I worked… I think that helped the plates flow better on the wall and created a more organic look (versus if I spaced everything out evenly).

Confession: This plate wall has been up and completed in our family room for about 5 months now… and I’m just showing it to you now. I know! But I waited to share this wall with you for a couple of reasons. First, I ended up rearranging a few of the plates… more than a few times! Second, I wanted to ensure that the plates would stay up on the wall using the picture hanging strips before I told you to consider doing it. Now, I never had a problem using the strips for plates next to my chalkboard in the kitchen, but those plates were smaller and fewer than this project. So far, I had only one plate fall and that was a large, heavy plate that needed more strips than the other plates. The strips seem to be holding the other plates up fine. BUT I will admit that if someone would bump against a plate, it has the chance to fall. I’ve warned guests that come over to be careful when they sit on the couch for that reason.

 DIY gallery wall with embroidery hoops, vintage plates and ceiling medallions

( Would I use the picture hanging strips to hang plates again? Maybe… but maybe not. They were expensive to use in a large scale like this project… and I’m not sure how well they will stay on the wall over a long period of time or if we have a rowdy crowd over, etc. (see above) If I were to do this wall again, I probably would accept the holes in the walls and use traditional plate hangers or glue paperclips to the back of the plates to use as a DIY plate hanger. But I’m enjoying the wall now and I’m happy I won’t have too many holes to patch if I want to change it around later. )


It took a loooong to to source, arrange and create this wall display… but I am soooo in love with the end result!

Sitting in that room – I can’t help but smile when I look at the gallery wall. Every time I examine it, I feel like I see something new. Each decorative plate and piece of fabric is so pretty on it’s own.

DIY art made from vintage plates, fabric and ceiling medallions

I can’t decide which piece I like best. I love how the white plate edges and medallions around each of the hoops and plates kinda looks like a glossy frame around each piece. The effect helps each pattern have their own little way to shine amidst all of this vintage goodness.

DIY wall art using vintage plates, fabric and ceiling medallions

I also like how the rounded shapes and vintage images are a nice contrast to the very modern sofa below. Arranged in this large, bold pattern on the wall, I think that the gallery wall still feels modern in a way, too.

Since there was so much going on above the sofa, I kept the pillows on the couch pretty simple. I picked up these textured pillows at Target in blue, pink and yellow solid colors, plus a textured gray pillow, too. A simple oval, vintage platter sits on the bench/coffee table to serve as a tray.

textured CMYK pillows and DIY gallery wall art

Are you curious about the pretty blue glass lamp on the end table next to the couch? Stay tuned in the coming week… I’ll show you how to make your own lamp soon!

The family room is starting to come together and I have just a few more things to finish up before I declare this room ‘done’.  In the meantime… I’m LOVING the mass collision of vintage plates, fabric and ceiling medallions on my wall!

Simple and pretty wall art from vintage plates, hoops, fabric and ceiling medallions

March 22, 2014

DIY Glass Fishing Floats: Two Ways

Madigan made… DIY Japanese faux glass fishing floats.

Simple DIY glass fishing floats: made two ways. These are so easy to make and look gorgeous together in a big bowl.

With spring’s arrival this week… I am SO ready to incorporate more bright color into my home right now.

I’m currently working on some DIY décor projects for our family room. Remember that sad room that I finally painted last year? Yeah, it needed help! One of the colors (from my CMYK color scheme) I am using in the room is a pretty blue turquoise.

So, you can imagine my delight when I was at the thrift store one day this fall and stumbled across REAL blown glass Japanese fishing floats in a gorgeous teal color!

Japanese glass fishing floats

When I spotted the shiny glass spheres, I grinned, snatched them up and  walked to the register like a giddy little kid. They were so pretty and I knew they’d look nice in the family room.

But I realized that just two of the floats did not look that impressive in a bowl… even with a blown glass Christmas ornament that I had, too. (That’s the smaller orb in front.) So, I thought it might be fun to use large, glass holiday ornaments to mimic the look of the floats for a big vase filler display. I found my ornaments on clearance after Christmas, but you can purchase them online year-round.

The colors of my blue DIY versions are not as teal or as green as the real-life floats, but I still like the colors. I think they all look pretty in a big bowl.

Faux Japanese glass fishing floats... made two ways using glass ornaments. So pretty!

DIY Faux Glass Fishing Floats Vase Filler

Supplies used:

(Note: Links in this list are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission from purchases made via these links. I also was given some of the supplies below complimentary for prior projects. All opinions are my own.)

Steps to make DIY glass floats:

  • Remove the metal hardware from each of the ornaments. Place the ornaments upright in the packaging container they came in.

Tutorial for how to make DIY glass fishing floats with tinted decoupage

  • Pour a generous amount of colored Mod Podge into four of the ornaments. Swirl the ornaments around to coat the inside of each one. Turn the ornaments upside down and allow the decoupage to drain out of the ornaments. I love how this product can easily tint glass!

Tutorial for how to make DIY glass fishing floats with glass paint

  • Pour a bit of both the glass stain and the translucent glass paint into the four remaining ornaments. Swirl those around to coat the inside of the ornaments and allow them to dry upside down and excess paint to drain out. 
  • Allow your ornaments to dry out. For me, the paint dried within one day. Because of the narrow opening, it took my ornaments with the Mod Podge WEEKS for the decoupage to fully dry and cure. In hindsight, maybe I could have hastened the drying time by baking them at a low temperature in the oven OR mixed a little water into the decoupage before swirling. They eventually dried with some patience.
  • Once all of the ornaments are dry, clean up any dried paint/decoupage along the opening edges by using your craft knife.
  • Fill a bowl or tray with your new creations and enjoy!

How to make DIY glass fishing floats 2 ways: tinted decoupage or glass paint. Gorgeous!

I love how each technique created two different looks on my ‘floats’. The decoupage gave the glass a solid color while the two different glass paints in the other ones had kind of a marbled look. Even though the color is not an exact match, I think they look pretty next to the ‘real’ floats in a dish.

It looks like a big bowl of bubbles, doesn’t it? DIY glass fishing floats made from holiday ornaments

If you didn’t want to mimic the look of glass fishing floats, you could make pretty, translucent vase filler with this approach using ANY color paint or decoupage to match your décor. I think a bowl filled with pale pink or soft green bubbles could be pretty for a spring centerpiece, or any time of the year.

I might make a few more of these floats down the road in another size to add more variety to my collection. I’ll probably try to mix a little green into the blue to match the teal of the real floats.

Right now, this pile of pretty blue bubbles just makes me smile!

DIY glass fishing floats