Work Table Wednesday: SIGNS!

Just thought I’d stop in today to share what’s on my worktable!

And invite all of you to do the same!

The last few weeks have been spent cutting, sanding, and painting…signs seem to be in high demand as fall inches closer.

I’d love to hear about what you’re working on! Feel free to post in the comments below!


Nikki, In Stitches

PS…For those of you that will ask. Yup! The stained signs are done with my homemade tea and vinegar stain mix. I told you! I use it on EVERYTHING! And these are stenciled…all my stencils are made with my Silhouette!

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Create Your Own Story Wall

Every little thing on this wall means so much to me.

Special days, lyrics, favorite pictures…

It’s our story…literally from the day we met, to our most recent family photo.

It’s all there, with plenty of room to grow.

Plenty of room to fill it with even more of our story.

Ready to tell your own story?

Here are a few quick tips to get you started.


Nikki, In Stitches

The “M” in the center is just a pre-made brown paper mache letter from the craft store. Give it a coat of black craft paint, let it dry, and then put on a layer of Martha Stewart’s Sterling Metallic craft paint…it will look exactly like punched metal.

You guessed it…the wood is all stained with my favorite tea, vinegar, and steel wool technique!

Those square frames…they aren’t really frames. Use your imagination when roaming the aisles of your craft store. Unfinished blanks from the craft store, with a piece of canvas textured poster board inserted in the center…instant (and simple!) frame.

The dates in the frames are metallic silver vinyl. I know what you’re thinking…but vinyl doesn’t stick to canvas! Nope. It doesn’t! But give the canvas a quick coat of paint, and it will stick on there forever! I use Martha Stewart’s Wedding Cake White…it’s a perfect match for the color of the blank canvas!

Because I know you’re going to ask…the dates in one “frame” are the day we met, the day we were engaged, and the day we married. The other set are our children’s birthdays. (And I Believe by The Four Tops was our wedding song!)


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Before And After Entryway…A Chalk Paint Makeover

Did you ever have a piece of furniture you’d been carrying with your for a long time knowing that one day you’d find the perfect project for it in the perfect place?

That was me.

See that brown wine rack up there?

You know…the one that was missing the glass in the front door long before I ever stumbled upon it nine years ago in a tiny little hodge podge antique / pottery / garden decor shop outside of Scottsdale, Arizona?

You know…the one I carted to four different houses in three different states because I *knew* one day I would find the perfect project for it in the perfect place?

Well, it turns out it just needed a partner to complete the set!

I found the purple mirror for $8 at GoodWill. A coat of white chalk paint later (plus a little gray dry brushing on top!) and my entryway is now complete!

I’ve given all of you my “go-to” method for painting and aging furniture with chalk based paints before. You can find it by clicking here! You know me…I keep it simple. Base coat, dry brushing, and wax…I promise anyone can do it!

And the part I love the most about this little makeover? The front of the wine cabinet.


Again, I keep things simple around here! I painted a piece of the thickest black poster board I could find grey. Cut the design using my Silhouette. Weeded it as a stencil and painted it right on there! Some of the grey paint lifted with I peeled off the stencil, but that was totally ok by me…it looks like it’s just as old as the cabinet itself! You can find the design I used for free from The Graphics Fairy here!


Nikki, In Stitches

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Philly Home Show Make and Take Workshop

Just a quick note today to all my local readers…

Ditch your Valentine and come craft with me this Sunday!

I’ll be teaching dry brushing and stenciling techniques at the Philly Home Show. Everyone in class will take home the adorable project you see above.

I’ll also be demonstrating Silhouette cutting systems and how I used them to create the stencil for this project.

My class starts at 4:00pm but you can find the entire workshop line up by clicking here!

I hope to see you there!

Nikki, In Stitches

P.S. Thanks to Jen T by Design for the “hello” we use in the project. You always so graciously let me use your designs. I can never thank you enough…you are the best!

P.P.S. If you need help with your Silhouette cutting system but can’t make it to this workshop, you know you can always have access to my lessons in the Crafting With Your Silhouette monthly program. Click here for more details!

P.P.P.S Are you planning en event and would like to me to teach a workshop? I’d love to talk more about what we can create together!

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Rustic Wooden Pallet Picture Frames

The wall above my sofa in my living room has been empty since the day we moved into this house. I claimed it was because I was waiting to find the perfect piece of art to fill such a large space but really I knew I wanted to build something for up there…but I didn’t know exactly what that something would be.

Fast forward a year (yes…I know. That’s a long time to have a huge blank space in your living room. My husband told me so many, many times!) and I stumbled across this post from Sweet Georgia Sweet on Facebook. I was instantly in love with the idea of pallet frames, and equally excited about finding a project I could make myself. I’m determined to literally DIY as much of our house as I can.
Give me a weekend snowed in (Thank you winter storm Jonas!), and I’ll give you pallet picture frames!

The full how-to is below!


Nikki, In Stitches


  • Raw pine wood wall planks (Don’t let the name of these scare you! They are simply really thin tongue and groove pine planks you would use to create a wainscoting look in your house. You can buy them in long 8′ planks, but those may be hard for you to not only transport but cut down to size by yourself. I actually found mine in a twelve pack of planks that were 32″ long…MUCH easier to handle!)
  • Two 1/4″ thick plywood squares, one cut to be 20″ and the other 17″
  • 1″ wood screws
  • 14″ canvas (This was a custom size I ordered from I am NOT an affiliate for them, I just found them…and their 60% off coupon when you sign up for their email list!…and thought it was a great deal!)
  • Nail for hanging canvas
  • Mounting hangers for the back of your pallet


For this project I used both a chop saw and a table saw, as well as a drill and hammer. Please don’t let that last sentence scare you. You can absolutely ask your local hardware store to cut your lumber for you, just go prepared. Have your specs exactly mapped out so you can tell them precisely  how to cut each piece!

NOTE: In the directions below, I’ll work with the exact dimensions I used. You can absolutely adjust the size of these to be whatever works for your space! If you need help scaling the project, just ask!


  •  Make your “pallet.”
    The pallet construction is VERY basic. I used nine vertical planks going across, and two horizontal cross bars behind. You can see in the picture below exactly how I have them put together…even where I screwed them together. I did cut my planks down a bit. They started at 32″ and I cut them down to 30″. (Why 30″ you ask? Because with nine planks across that gave me a square!) I also trimmed off the outside edge of the right most plank and the left most plank. Remember, these are “tongue and groove” planks so they do not have flat finished edges. I simple ran these two through my table saw to give them a nice flat clean edge! If you don’t mind the tongue and groove showing on the sides, then feel free to skip that part!

  • Paint your largest (20″) plywood square and screw it into place in the center of your pallet.
    My 1″ screws came through the pallet in the back, but I didn’t mind. If you want a more finished back of your project, you can switch here to a shorter screw. Just be sure when you screw in into place the screws are placed about 2.5″ in from all the edges. This will ensure they will be covered by the next layer of plywood!

  • Paint your last plywood square (17″) and screw it into place in the center of your pallet.
    Again, just be sure your screws are about 2.5″ in from all the edges so that your canvas will cover them!

  • Place a nail in your top most layer to hang your canvas from.
    Do a little prep work and measuring here. You want to be sure your canvas is centered. Measure to the center of your canvas, and also how far down the hanger is on the back. Adjust your nail placement accordingly!

  • Mount your finished pallet to the wall and then hang your canvas from the center! The nice things about these is that as your kiddos grow older, it’s so easy to swap out the canvases!!

PS…The “graphics” for today’s post were actually created in my Silhouette Studio software. Yup, like I’ve said so many times…you really can do so much more than just cut paper and vinyl with your Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait! If you’d like to push your Silhouette crafting to new levels, stop by and take a peek at the Crafting With Your Silhouette monthly program. I’d love to see you join us in class! Click here for more details!

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How To Stain Wood With Tea, Vinegar, and Steel Wool {Now The ONLY Way I Stain!}

Staining wood with tea, vinegar, and steel wood really couldn’t be much easier. You’ll see in the tutorial below that the steps are very simple…but just like many things in life…the secret to getting it just right is in the details!

The how-to be low is short and sweet.

But pay close attention to the tips tucked into the material section and the “IMPORTANT NOTES” afterwards…you’ll love the result even more if you take the time to get it perfect! 

Also, many of you asked for a tutorial on how I actually constructed my frames…that’s coming next week! Stay tuned!


  • RAW wood (This is important! Any finish on your wood is going to effect how the ingredients react. If you’re using wood that already has a finish, wood that is old and you don’t know if it’s been finished/sealed/waxed etc., or if you have wood that you’ve sanded down to remove any of those things, YOU MUST FIND A PLACE TO DO A TEST PATCH! The bottom of the table top, inside a drawer, somewhere! I personally have only ever used this method on raw wood and people ask me can it be done on wood that’s been finished. There are so many possible finishes it is impossible to give a definite answer. You MUST test it first to see!)

  • Vinegar / Steel Wool Combo (This is pretty easy. Fill an old mason jar with vinegar. Dump in a clump of steel wool you get at your local hardware store. Let it sit FOR A LONG TIME! I let mine sit for about a week. Actually, to be totally honest, I keep a batch of this stuff brewing in my garage year round so I’m ready to stain whenever the feeling hits me, but I know not everyone stains wood on a whim. You’ll see that after about a week the steel wool has almost completely dissolved and your potion looks like rusty water…that’s just right! If your steel wool floats at the top and doesn’t sink to the bottom after a few days, just get it a quick shake…most times the steel wool breaks up almost immediately. Let it sit for a few days more though before you use it!)
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  • STRONG tea (The stronger the better! And any tea will work…as long as it’s strong! An important note here is that while you can let your steel wool and vinegar mix sit for ages in your garage, the same is NOT TRUE for your tea. After awhile your tea loses it’s “umph” and won’t react. Make a fresh batch for each project!)
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  • Paint brush (Don’t waste money on a fancy expensive brush! I do like a wide brush when I’m staining like this, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot!)


  • Paint your wood with your tea and let it completely dry.
  • Paint your wood with the vinegar / steel wool mix and watch the magic happen.
  • Repeat these two steps one more time if you want a darker stain.

See what I mean? The actual technique couldn’t be easier, right?

*So here’s the quick science lesson here which may help you understand how this works, and why the set up and steps are important. At least, this is what I *think* happens here…remember I was a math major, science isn’t really my thing!*

The tannins in the tea react with the steel wool and vinegar mix. That’s why the stronger the tea (the more tannins!) and better the reaction you will get. Make sense? The first coat, the tea, will really not do much. After it dries, you may not even be able to see a difference in the color of your wood! But the magic happens when you then apply the steel wool / vinegar mix…You will instantly see the color change!

IMPORTANT NOTE #1: Yes, you will see an instant change in color when you apply the steel wool / vinegar combo, but that’s not where the change stops. Your wood could continue to darken for an hour or two! DO NOT jump to repeating the steps until you’ve let your piece completely dry. You may find that after a few hours, you really don’t need/want that extra coat and once you put it on there, there’s no going back!

IMPORTANT NOTE #2: You don’t have to do both steps again. Maybe you put the tea on again and it darkened just enough? Don’t feel like you have to finish with a coat of the steel wool and vinegar.

IMPORTANT NOTE #3: Be careful at your corners! Really be careful anywhere the mixtures could pool or where you may accidentally get a little more, like at the edges of your pieces. Those places are really getting an extra coat, so they may be end up being darker! Don’t overload your brush and you’ll minimize the possibility of this happening!

IMPORTANT NOTE #4: If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to finish this with a coat of wax. I just use clear. Let the stain itself do the work for you. Let the wax just give it that nice polished look!

So now my little secret is out! Have fun staining away! And send me pics of your finished pieces…I’d love to see!

Nikki, In Stitches


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Happy Thanksgiving

It’s really early here (too early for two thirds of my children to be awake!) but I wanted to take a few minutes to wish each and every one of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

As many of you know, this has been a hard year for me physically, with lots of unexpected twists and turns, but when I sit down tonight with my family for dinner, I will have more to be thankful for than I ever have before…laughter and love, family and friends, health and happiness.

Enjoy your time today with all of your loved ones. Give them all an extra squeeze when you hug them for me!

Nikki, In Stitches

PS…If you have some extra time this morning, enjoying a quiet cup of coffee before the craziness of cooking dinner begins, I’ve included the Black Friday Silhouette details below. The sale is open now, so feel free to fill your cart and get some shopping done for yourself today! If you are having a screen free Thanksgiving (which I hope to start as soon as I click “Publish” on this post) and are reading this Black Friday morning, I hope you’ve had a great Turkey Day and are now enjoying all of the sales and deals you’ve been waiting for!

  1. Free shipping on orders over $50.00! (You know this is a biggie, especially if you’re ordering  machines! The shipping on them can be expensive! Just keep in mind this offer is only good for those of you in the contiguous US!)
  2. 40% off almost everything in the Silhouette America store with promo code STITCHES (I’ll be honest and tell you this is the one I’m most interested in! I’ll be stocking up on blade and mats, fabric inks, inks of my Mint, and etching sheets for my Curio!)
  3. 20% off Silhouette Design Store Subscriptions with promo code BLACK
  4. Machine bundles as low as $99.99 including: (Again use promo code STITCHES for these!)
    – Silhouette Mint for $99.99
    -Portrait and Mint TOGETHER for $189.99
    -CAMEO for $199.99
    -CAMEO and Portrait TOGETHER for $289.99
  5. There are more bundles available on the site if you look around, and again, just use promo code STITCHES to get your discounts!

The sale runs through December 4th, 2015! HAPPY SHOPPING!!!

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Silhouette Mint Giveaway!

Yes! You read that title correctly!

I’m giving away a Silhouette Mint! Woo Hoo!

It’s really easy to enter. Just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is, note in the Rafflecopter box below that you commented, and your name is on the list! (If you’re reading this email in your inbox and the Rafflecopter app is missing, just click here to go right to the Nikki, In Stitches site!) I’ll randomly pick a winner Thanksgiving morning, and one of you will have even more to be thankful for this year!

I’ve gotten things started with a comment of my own. Scroll down to take a peek!

If you’re curious about the Mint, I’ll have a video up on my YouTube channel soon, but for now, let me give you the most important thing you need to know…It. Is. Awesome!

This little machine creates a stamp that you then mount on a block permanently. It actually carves your design into the material…there is no transferring of the stamping material like some of you may remember from the “stamping starter kit” Silhouette also sells. This very different process lets you create stamps with MUCH MORE intricate detail. The stamp that I created in that picture up there??? It’s less than an inch wide! See what I mean about the detail?

And how you ink the stamp is also VERY DIFFERENT!

You apply the ink to the stamp color by color…just spreading the color throughout the area you’d like, doing your best to not let your colors bleed into each other. (Have you ever seen those videos of people flooding cookie designs with royal icing? Think of it just like that!) By my second stamp I already had a few tricks up my sleeve for the best way to apply the ink and it was a piece of cake!

Let your stamp sit just for a few minutes so that the inks absorb into it.

Stamp away!

And by stamp away, I mean stamp away FOR REAL! I must have stamped this guy thirty times and still have not yet needed to re-ink him!

See what I mean? So awesome. This is perfect for those of you that like to stamp your kids names on the backs of their art projects before you tuck them away in your “memory box.” Or if you have your own business and like to stamp your logo on your receipts. If you have a favorite birthday cake design you use on your handmade cards. You get the idea. Any time you stamp the same thing lots of times…this is perfect for you!

So go ahead and comment below with your favorite thing on the Thanksgiving table, and your name is thrown into the hat to win a Silhouette Mint of your own!

BUT WAIT! One more thing before you comment!

Set a reminder in your phone to check back here later in the week (Thanksgiving if you’ve got time between your stuffing and pumpkin pie, or the day after if you prefer to have a “screen free” Turkey Day) because I’ll have all the details for the HUGE Silhouette Black Friday sale. I PROMISE YOU! IT’S A GOOD ONE!

But you know me…I’m THE WORST at keeping secrets! Here’s a little sneak peek at what will be waiting for you at the sale!

  • Machine bundle discounts with machines as low as $100.00
  • 50% off almost all designs in the Design Store
  • 40% off almost all supplies in our store.  (This is my favorite part! You know I’ll be stocking up on mats, blades, inks, and more!!)

Good luck to all of you in the giveaway and see you back here soon!

Nikki, In Stitches

a Rafflecopter giveaway
PS…This giveaway is open to residents in the US and Canada only. (I don’t make the rules! Silhouette sets the guidelines, and I just am lucky enough to get to spread the love!) I will email the winner Thursday, November 26th, 2015. If the winner does not reply within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected!

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Curious About The New Silhouette Curio?

Just stopping by today with a quick video.

It’s actually a snippet of last week’s Masters’ Program inside The Nikki, In Stitches Craft Academy.

For those of you with Silhouette cutting systems, and those of you considering one, whether or not to invest in a Curio seems to be a big question these days.

I know many of you are curious as to how it works, and how it compares to both the Silhouette CAMEO and Portrait.

This video gives you a peek at just a few of the difference. Trust me…it can do WAY more than just what you see in this little clip…but this will at least spark your interest!

And if you’d like to see it do even more before you make your decision on whether or not it’s a good for you and the crafts you like to make, I’ll be doing a free webinar within the next few weeks. Be sure you drop your email in the sign up box here on the site to get all the details!

Two things to note here:

  1. If you’re reading this in your in box and can’t see the video, just click here to watch it right on the Nikki, In Stitches site!
  2. If you already know this is the machine for you, you can use promo code STITCHES to get $15 off! Just click here to start shopping!


Nikki, In Stitches

** This post contains affiliate links, which means I do receive compensation if you make a purchase using my promo code and link, but you know me…I only share products with you that I absolutely LOVE and use myself!**

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How To Hem Tulle Ruffles (VIDEO Tutorial)

Lots of questions came in after my last post, asking for a close-up view of exactly how I used jewelry monofilament or fishing line in my tulle ruffles, so I thought I’d show a short video today. I demo the process twice…once from a distance showing how I have my sewing machine set up, and then again nice and close so everyone can see exactly how my sewing machine catches the wire in the hem.

Take a peek below! (If you’re reading this in your inbox and can’t see the video below, just click here to go right to the blog and watch there!)

And, I’m happy to report that the mermaid queen costume is complete (with a cape not shown above…that of course has layers, and layers, and layers of ruffles!) and I finished this year in record time…a full three days before Halloween.

For those of you still sewing, I’m sending good thoughts your way. I’ve been in your shoes…sewing straight on through until it’s time to actually put on costumes.

Hang in there.

And for all of your hard work that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition, I officially give you permission to eat all of yours kids peanut butter cups.


Nikki, In Stitches

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