Cheap & easy DIY
Turn an old globe into a message center in the round with two colors of chalkboard paint. Following the contours of the map, paint the oceans black, the land masses green, and let dry before spreading your message of peace around the world. If your hand is too unsteady, simply remove the globe from the base and spray paint it black.
She Displays Seashells
Vintage seashell shadow boxes go for hundreds online, but they're easy to replicate with beachcomber treasures from your last seaside vacation. Cover the back of a shadow box or deep frame with canvas or cream linen. Glue on shells and label each in the manner of a museum display, or create a title card detailing their provenance ("Susan's Oasis, Myrtle Beach - May 2011") to make it personal. If you don't have your own shell collection, buy a bag at the craft store and skip the labeling.
Paper 'Light' House
Fairytale buildings come to life in this easy project with magical results. Find a photo of a house, castle or fanciful structure, taken straight on, that's big enough to wrap around a clear glass votive candle holder and tall enough to extend just beyond the top rim. Square off the bottom and sides when you cut the image out, but for the top use small scissors to trim along the roofline. For added effect, cut out two or three window openings with an exacto knife. Wrap the image all the way around the votive candle holder and glue or tape. Place a tea light or flameless tea light inside, and watch your paper light house glow.
Shutter Bulletin Board/Organizer
Got an empty stretch of wall space too narrow for a bulletin board? Repurpose a wooden shutter as a unique organizer. Hung upside down, it holds file folders, envelopes, cards and photos slipped in between the slats or secured with clothes pins. Use S hooks to hang framed pictures or vertical wire storage baskets.
Faux Milk Glass Vase
White ceramics and vintage milk glass are hot decorating accents for tabletops and displays. You can get a similar look by spraying those ugly florist's vases lying around your home with white enamel paint. Wipe them down with rubbing alcohol before spraying to remove greasy fingerprints, and use several light coats to avoid drips.
Shrunken Sweater Coasters
You didn't shrink your beautiful 100-percent wool sweater in the laundry by accident. You intentionally felted it so the resulting dense wool fabric could be cut into eco-friendly drink coasters with no hemming necessary. Likewise, you always intended to use the arms -- cut off at elbow length -- as wrist warmers after opening the stitched seam 2 inches down from the cuff, just enough to fit your thumb through. If you never have laundry mishaps, buy a 100-percent wool sweater at the thrift store, wash it in hot water, dry it at the hottest setting, and follow the steps above.
Nail Polish Magnets
These sparkly gems are actually flat clear-glass marbles painted with layers of nail polish. Cover the bottom surface with a clear coat, then add layers going from translucent to opaque. Try sparkly glitter backed by shimmering frost with a final solid-color coat. When dry, use silicone-based glue to attach a button magnet. Set against a sheet-metal magnet board, they look like semi-precious stones and make your workspace luxe.
Soda Pop Art Display
Simple objects become artful when displayed individually. If you're challenged by how to organize them, turn a vintage wooden soda crate -- the kind with dividers for the bottles -- on its side for instant shelving with character.
Wax Dipped LED Tea Lights
Like the convenience of flameless tea lights but not their plasticky look? Try a wax dip. Melt candle wax in a double boiler, add instant coffee for color and ground cinnamon and ground cloves for texture and scent. Using tweezers, grasp the underside of an LED tea light and dip it into the melted wax flame tip first, immersing the candle almost to the base. Flip right side up and set on wax paper or a metal cookie sheet to harden.
Get twiggy with this rustic vase, perfect for an informal bouquet. Gather together thin tree branches no thicker than your pinky, a smooth-sided clear plastic container (peanut butter jars are ideal), a sturdy rubber band and either twine, jute, birch bark or other natural material for wrapping. Stand a straight branch against the jar and cut a length of twig slightly taller than the jar. Cut all branches this length. With the rubber band around the middle of the jar, slip twigs between the rubber band and the jar so the twigs cover the jar completely and the rubber band holds them in place securely. Cover the band with wrapped twine, jute or a strip of birch bark. Tie off the cord or glue bark ends together.
Linda Lowen is a Syracuse, NY, writer who is grateful that in the craftosphere the labels "cheap" and "easy" are positive attributes.