Craftiness: Painted Frames for Photos and Art

Like everyone with young kids (especially if they’re in daycare), we get a lot of artwork home from the boys. And I want to display it, at least for a little while. I’ve been looking around for inexpensive ways to do it (I’ve found a lot of great ways to display, but most of them were more than I was willing to pay).

As I do, I turned to Pinterest for ideas. I wanted it to be simple, and I wanted to make it colorful, so I settled on the empty frame with wire and clothes pins project. I’m happy-ish with how it turned out. I really like the colors, and it does the job well, but I’m really not good at spray painting. So, it’s not as shiny and smooth as I wanted it (even though I *thought* I followed all the directions on the can); but, I still like it.

I have them up at my office so I can have more color there and have bits of the kids’ work around me.

These are just raw wood frames I picked up at Hobby Lobby, picture-hanging wire, spray paint for the frames, and wooden clothes pins painted with acrylic paint. That’s not much of a tutorial, is it? The only real tip I have about this whole process is that I clipped the clothes pins to the top of a cheap plastic cup to paint them. It kept my fingers clean and made the whole process a little faster.

How do you display your art and photos?

Crafty Supplies

Crafty Supplies

Look, Ma, no paint! On my fingers, I mean.

Look, Ma, no paint! On my fingers, I mean.

Optimus Prime! Sorry, we've been watching a lot of Transformers.

Optimus Prime! Sorry, we’ve been watching a lot of Transformers.

The sunniest yellow ever!

The sunniest yellow ever!

They do the job, y'all. Sometimes that's all you can ask of a craft.

They do the job, y’all. Sometimes that’s all you can ask of a craft.

 

Party Fun: Brown and Pink Baby Shower

My sweet niece, Michelle, had a beautiful little girl a few months ago; but, before that I got to do a few things to help make her baby shower pretty! Michelle wanted a shower that had some pink, but didn’t want it to look like a giant pile of cotton candy had exploded in the room. Since she was using pink and brown for the baby’s room at home, we used the same color scheme for the shower.

I was inspired by a pink and burlap shower that was featured on the Pizzazzerie site.  If you haven’t checked out her site you need to get over there stat!

 

Door Wreath

This wreath was my first attempt at making the felt flowers, and I’m really happy with how the whole thing turned out. Which is good, since this was most of my gift for Michelle! You can find tutorials for felt flowers in tons of places, just Google “felt flowers” and you’ll have a ton to choose from. I used foam Thickers to put the baby’s initials on the bunting.

 

Paper Letters

These letters were also part of Michelle’s gift from me. The letters (the baby’s initials), paper and acrylic paint are all from Hobby Lobby. I painted the sides and back with the beige paint, cut out the paper using the letters as the template, and used Mod Podge to adhere the paper to the letter. After everything was dry, I used more Mod Podge to put a coat on the entire thing.

 

Mason Jars & Soda Bottles

Michelle’s Mom and brother used coordinating yarn to wrap glass soda bottles for use as vases and we stuck some flat felt flowers (say that fast three times) to a few of them. We used the bottles either for holding flowers, or just to decorate. Some of the mason jars also got wrapped in the yarn and others got coordinating ribbon wrapped around the mouth for a little color. We used the mason jars for both drinks and holding flowers. Michelle’s Grandpa was happy about the mason jars too since many of them came from his garage and had been Michelle’s Grandma’s. It’s nice to have a little bit of her there.

 

Cupcakes

I baked chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cupcakes. Convenient for those yummy flavors to be the colors of the shower! Fun fact: when you make the chocolate icing too thick, and try to pipe it on, the tip will come out of the piping bag and it will look like a giant poop. So, it’s best to just spread the chocolate icing on top. The vanilla cupcakes and icing were the best I’ve ever made though. I used vanilla bean in both the batter and icing, and because I was running behind, I ended up beating the icing longer than I usually do which made it super fluffy and sooooo good.

 

Paper Straws

I can’t help it, I have a weakness for paper straws. I think they make a really cute detail. We ended up with pink, but I ordered a few different brown patterns that would have been perfect. If our post office hadn’t caught fire before the shower. I got the straws a couple of weeks after the shower, the packaging covered in soot. No lie.

 

Table Runners

I got a couple of yards of muslin, cut them the length of the tables I knew we’d be using, and then used round foam stamps and acrylic paint to make polka dots. I liked the rough edges and Nicholas liked that I let him help stamp the polka dots! It’s possible our kitchen counters had paint on them for a couple of weeks. Maybe.

 

I had so much fun with the details of Michelle’s shower! I would love to hear some of your ideas for throwing a simple and sweet shower!

 

Photos of the Fun!

Wrapped Soda BottlesPretty Paper StrawsPaper LettersMason Jars Pink and BrownBest Cupcakes EverFelt FlowersFelt and Yarn Baby Shower Wreath

Gift Giving: Getting To Know Your Teacher

I don’t know if you’re the same way, but I want to give gifts or make gifts for my childrens’ teachers that they really want. I don’t want to give them their 3,103rd porcelain apple (unless they collect). Last year, I created a simple form for N’s teachers to fill out that gave us some guidance on gift buying and gift making for the school year. We give for Christmas, the teacher’s birthday, and Teacher Appreciation Week, and the list made it so much easier to do.

I keep the list simple, but some of the things you might want to find out include:

  • favorite color
  • hobbies
  • favorite food
  • favorite store
  • favorite restaurant
  • favorite smell
  • favorite candy
  • least favorite food/smell/candy
  • favorite weekend activities
  • favorite music
  • birthday

You can include anything on the list you think is important for easy gift giving that your child’s teacher will love. Just one more step in staying sane this school year!

Here’s the form we are using this year:

Ms Martinez Form copy

I’d love to hear what you would include on your list!

 

Dyeing for Easter

Get it? “Dyeing” This is totally a post about dyeing Easter eggs. And having to look up the spelling for “dyeing” because it’s weird. Last year, the boys and I made an Easter Egg Tree, but I haven’t had a chance to get crafty this year (and I don’t anticipate it happening any time soon). But! I saw this fun tutorial for dyeing eggs with Kool-Aid and we decided to try it. The author does a great job of guiding you through the color choices and technique, so check her out.

I just have to say that I really, really liked dyeing eggs this way! I am not a huge lover of the vinegar and tablet method what with the stink and dyed hands and all. The Kool-Aid made a mess on the counter (with some help from N and T), but their hands were stain-free and the kitchen smelled all fake-fruity!

Our favorite colors were blue (Rasperry Ice Blue), green (Lemon Lime) and red (Cherry). The grape-flavored drink makes the eggs a sort of charcoal gray, and if you were doing a sophisticated color scheme, they would look great with yellow eggs.

Photographic evidence of the Kool-Aid dyeing fun!

EasterEggSetupPSK TobinStirringPSKNMixesPSKDyedEasterEggsKoolAidPSK

 

As I did last year, I got to make a super-fun Easter basket for the boys using awesome treats from Hershey’s Chocolate*. You can get all kinds of fun ideas for crafts, baking, and treats at Celebrate with Hershey’s.

*I got the Easter basket and goodies free from Hershey’s Chocolate, but the egg dyeing was all us :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapping the Sad Stuff

I didn’t think about the sad stuff when I started Project Life. I knew I’d be keeping track of our family memories on a weekly basis, but thought it would just be the happy stuff, the cute things the kids say, my adventures in hair, you know the really important stuff.

But then I had the miscarriage. And I haven’t scrapped for the last three weeks. Even though I have the pictures for those weeks and really good stuff happened. But I can’t *not* mention the sadness because it was such a big part of what was happening. The thing about doing traditional scrapbooking is that you can skip over the sad pretty easily. Something about Project Life makes me share more, whether I want to or not.

I will though, probably this weekend. I will catch up with those few weeks, and I will talk about the loss of the pregnancy because that was what was happening. But I will also talk about the fun stuff that happened at school, or the silly things the kids said, or what I cooked that week. Because that’s what makes up our lives.

Scrapbooking: Valentine’s Day Layout

As a mom of two boys, I really like scrabooking Valentine’s Day or love-inspired layouts because I can use all of the pink and heart-covered paper that I don’t normally use.

Right now, I am working on my almost-three-year-old’s book from birth through his first birthday. I didn’t have any specific Valentine’s day photos, but I liked the thought of using the phrase, “I Heart You,” so worked with that. It happened that the photos I had lined up to use on his February layout focused on the funny faces he made. Since the funny faces are one of my favorite things that T does, it wasn’t a stretch to combine them. Add the fact that it’s February, and it was a natural fit for using some of my love-themed paper and my heart Washi tape.

I kept the layout simple, trimming and rounding the corners of the photos, rounding the corners of the paper, and trimming the Washi tape into pretty corners. I liked the thought of making the journal space look like a Valentine, so I cut out a big red heart and used Thickers for the title.

Supplies & Tools:

I would love to see the creative ways you scrapbook love or Valentine’s Day!

Here is the super easy, and very heart-filled, layout!

We Heart You LeftWe Heart You Journal We Heart You Right We Heart You Washi Detail

Headed to BlissDom 2013!

 

I am so very excited to get to go to BlissDom again this year! Last year (my first BlissDom) was such a great experience, and I met so many amazing people, I couldn’t wait to find out whether I’d get to go to the 2013 conference.

Three things happened to make it possible for me to go this year:

  1. BlissDom is in Dallas this year, so I can drive! This also provides a chance to make stops on my way North to pick up my friends Ellen (in SA) and Kim (in Austin). Road tripping is cheaper than flying! Plus I’m free to overpack guilt-free!
  2. My awesome husband. The timing of BlissDom 2013 isn’t great for William (more to the point, it isn’t a great time for me to be out of town); but, he’s working with me to make it possible. Because: Awesome.
  3. Katie, Bridget, and Ellen with whom I’m sharing a hotel room. I’m fully expecting pillow fights. Or at least help putting on makeup. I don’t really know how this stuff works. (4) I’m going to be a Community Leader again this year! Hopefully I’ll have some community to lead in the sessions.

As for the conference itself, I am so excited for the speakers who have already been announced, including Shelly Kramer , Meagan Jordan, Lucrecer Braxton and so very many more. I know I am going to learn a ton. And hopefully score some Dr. Smith’s butt cream from their booth. What? T is still in diapers.

In all seriousness, there was a real and significant change in my life after last years’ conference. Real and lasting friends were made, I learned more about myself as a person, and I claimed the title “writer” for the first time. I didn’t expect to make the friendships I made. I expected to meet some nice people and have fun while learning, but to make the instant and powerful connections that I did was a happy surprise. I learned more about myself and my abilities during BlissDom than I expected. Again, I just thought it would be fun; but, I found myself in situations where I had to make conversations with people I wouldn’t usually meet (I know I don’t come off that way, but I’m fairly shy) and diplomatically removing myself from situations where I just didn’t need to be. As for the title, “Writer”? It’s easy for me to say, “oh, I just write for myself, my mom and my three other readers, I’m not a writer.” And while the first part of that thought is true, I am a writer. I tell stories, I share my life, I work things out with words. I’m a Writer.

Fairly impactful few days, I would say.

Will you be at BlissDom? Have we met? Link your blog in the comments so I can get to know you before March!

Some awesomeness from 2012:

Bridget, Greis, Kim and Elliott making me feel giant...

Bridget, Greis, Kim and Elliott making me feel giant…

Kat, Bridget, Heather, and me!

Kat, Bridget, Heather, and me!

 

Ellen, Shasher, Me and Tara. Shasher and Tara taught me all about Canadian money!

Ellen, Shasher, Me and Tara. Shasher and Tara taught me all about Canadian money!

Fitness Friday: Redux

I’m back! In the whole healthy-eating, getting fit thing, I mean. Like so many other times, I stopped for a bit, and now I’m picking it back up. I’m okay with that.

The good news is that I’ve only gained back about 4 pounds of the 15 or so I lost starting last March. That’s pretty huge progress for me since I’m really good at re-gaining lost weight. I’ve also gained back about five inches total, but they are fairly spread out, so I’m good with that too.

I’m still working on getting the family to a mostly-meat free, plant-based, whole-foods menu. It’s slow going, but worth it. You can read about my other goals for 2013 in my last post, The Year of Taking Care. That is what I’ve dubbed 2013, The Year of Taking Care.

One big way I’m working on the healthier living thing is by taking Cathy Zielske’s Move More, Eat Well class through Big Picture Classes. It’s low-pressure, but still an accountability system. And it’s scrapbooking!

For the class, we needed to take a “before” picture. So I did (with a photo bomb from Lemmon). And then Tobin and Nicholas had to take one too. So here we are at the beginning of 2013, hoping to see much less of me this time next year!

 

Do you have fitness or health goals for 2013? I would love to hear what you’re doing!

 

2013 The Year of Taking Care

I don’t take very good care of myself sometimes. The majority of the time, really. I do the basics, but I am not very thoughtful about my own care. I don’t pay attention to myself the way I do to the boys or to William. So, this year’s Resolutions focus on Taking Care. Of me. Not at the expense of my family, but in addition to.

I have three areas I want to focus on in 2013:
Physical,
Mental, and
Financial.

Physical.
There are a couple of solid goals I have for the physical part of The Year of Taking Care (TYTC), and some that will morph as the year progresses.

  1. I will participate in Cathy Zielske’s “Move More, Eat Better” class via Big Picture Classes. I love the real-people-doing-it-together aspect and the creative aspect of this class.
  2. I will continue the transition to whole foods and less meat. This is not difficult for me at lunch, but has been more difficult when cooking for the family. We’ll have one day a week with no meat and two days with chicken.
  3. I will make all of our doctor’s appointments for the year by the end of January. This will include a dermatologist for me for a full-body check for melanoma.
  4. I will exercise. I am going to do yoga and cardio. The cardio part is one of the points that will morph throughout the year.
  5. I will take vitamins every day.

Mental.
The mental part of TYTC may look kind of loosey-goosey to someone not in my brain; but, that’s okay. This goal is to accomplish items that will help me feel good mentally.

  1. I will capture 2013 through weekly Project Life scrapbooking. I am so excited about starting at the beginning of a year and journalling as it happens rather than catching up later.
  2. I will catch up on scrapbooking our family for the years 2010-2012 using Project Life. Because this is catching up, I’m going to work on monthly layouts with special occasions thrown in. Again, I’m super excited.
  3. I will write letters or notes or postcards. Once a week, I’m going to put pen to paper and then put a stamp on it and drop it off in the mailbox. And I’m going to use my pretty stationary.
  4. I will cut back on waste. We started recycling this year, but we could do better. And I’m going to cut back on food waste (it’s gotten better, but we still throw away way too much food.)
  5. I will write on my blog. I’m working on an editorial calendar of sorts, but I’m not too freaked out about it. Which is an important part of the whole deal, not putting too much pressure on myself.

Financial.
Even though I’m making this a category all its own for TYTC, it blends so much into the mental part for me, I debated putting it there. When our finances are in order, and I know where everything is going, I feel so much better. My anxiety is closely tied to how I feel we’re doing financially, and my role in it. This is a pretty simple goal on the surface, but one of the more important ones to our family well being.

  1. I will balance my checkbook register every day.
  2. I will update our budget spreadsheet with every paycheck.
  3. I will categorize my spending so as to know where money is actually going.
  4. I will pay off all credit cards.

I may change some of these, I may add, I may delete; but, those are my goals for 2013. Y’all are going to help keep me accountable, right? I would love to hear about your goals for 2013 and how you plan to make them happen.

Christmas 2012 In Pictures

Our Christmas season has been amazing. Here is just a snapshot of our December. I hope your holiday, whichever you celebrate, was full of love and laughter.