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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012

Whether it's songs or Facebook statuses, it's the time of year for looking back and seeing what's been popular over the last year.  I'm doing the same as I highlight some of my favorites posts from 2012.  This may be fun for some of you who are new to my blog and didn't see these the first time.   

Happy New Year and thanks for sticking around in 2013--it should be another great year!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Free Printable Calendars for 2013

Lots of us have our lives in our phones, iPads, or in my case, my Nexus.  But there's just something about writing things down on paper, isn't there?

I've found several free printable calendars to share with you today.  This first one is the one I've printed out to keep track of my blog posts.  Click on the title of each one to visit the page where you can download them.

TomKat Studio

The Twinery

Hello Cuteness

Creative Mamma

Weekly Planner

Lau's Notebook

Design Bolts

In season fruits and veggies by Erin Huffstetler

What's your calendar of choice...Digital?  Giant white board on the wall?  Do you have another great place to share for printing calendars?


Monday, December 24, 2012

Candy Cane Wall Art

My project today actually started as an idea from my husband--for a couple of years now I've had this wall of Ikea mirrors over our kitchen table.  I painted them brown and put squares of scrapbook paper in a few of them to make it a little more interesting.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas--Our 2012 Card

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from our family!

(I'm was pretty happy with how they turned out, and I even designed the graphics myself.  Also, want to know my "square card secret?"    Square cards are more expensive to order and even mail, so I had my square image printed on a 5x7 card and then trimmed off the bottom section after I received them.  They still fit in the envelopes they sent of course, and I could mail them with a regular stamp.  Not a bad trick if you don't mind spending some time with your paper trimmer.) 

But anyway, back to the season's greetings--Thanks for following along.  Having you guys around is what makes this blogging thing fun!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Twine Giveaway and InstaShare

Just like most of you, we're in the home stretch of Christmas prep around here.

I'm stopping in really quickly today to have you go check out this Trendy Twine giveaway on the CuttingEdge Magazine Facebook page.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Birth Stats Board (with DecoArt Dimensional Effects)

We recently had another nephew join our family, and since I couldn't attend the baby shower in another state, I decided to do something that I could send after he was born.

I found an 8x10 wood board at Michaels and used these other supplies as well:

stencil brush (so it was stiff)
DecoArt Dimensional Effects
black, white and light blue paint Deco Art 132276 Americana Acrylic Paint 2 Ounces-Baby Blue-Opaque (Google Affiliate Ad)

Start by mixing 1 tablespoon of Dimensional Effects with 1 teaspoon (approximates) of black paint.  Use the stiff brush to drag the medium across the board.  Don't worry if the coverage isn't perfect, and you want lots of lines in it as well--this will create the raised lines that will sand off and look distressed later.

When that's dry, cover the whole board, including the sides, with blue paint (or whatever color you want your letters to be in the end)

Cut all your information from vinyl and stick to the board when the blue paint is dry.  Paint over everything with white paint and remove the vinyl.

When the white paint is dry, use sand paper to take off some layers of white and blue paint.  The raised lines of the Dimensional Effects give great texture to the final product.

For other ideas on how to use Dimensional Effects, visit the DecoArt website.  They asked me to create a project for them, and I made these two picture frames, creating different patterns on them by the way I applied the Dimensional Effects.  I used a stencil brush to make the swirl marks, and on the other I used a popsicle stick to get thick lines. I have on my list to try this same kind of thing but using a color other than black to add in too.

Click here for a great post on How to Cut Vinyl


**I was compensated by DecoArt to create a project for them, but was not required to write a post about it--and of course all thoughts and opinions are my own**

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TV Console from a Dresser

This post comes to you from my friend Kathi.  She transformed a free dresser into an amazing TV stand, and it just must be shared :)  She'll tell you all about it--

Our big old tube TV had been on the fritz for awhile.  We knew our days with our hand-me-down TV were coming to an end.  So, we started shopping for a new TV and putting money aside for it.  But then I realized that to get the TV we'd really like to have, we'd need a new entertainment center of some sort because our current one would only hold a fairly small widescreen TV.  The idea of buying an expensive piece of electronics and a new piece of furniture made my budget cry.  So instead, I got crafty.

I thought about starting from scratch and trying my hand at a Ana White design.  But then I realized I wasn't quite brave enough (yet).  I had seen some old dresser turned TV consoles, and I thought that I might be able to handle that.  I went on Craigslist and found a dresser for free, and my awesome hubby picked it up.

It wasn't in terrible shape, but it wasn't looking too pretty either.  And it REEKED of smoke. 

I started by using my electric sander to get down to the wood.  Then I took the back off so I could get in there and build some shelves.

I used some putty and spackle to fix some imperfections in the wood.  Then I primed it with an oil based primer to get rid of the smoke smell.  (Sherwin-Williams Oil Based Multi-Purpose Primer)

Now was the tricky part (for me, at least).  I'd never really built anything before, so even though I can now say it wasn't very hard, at the time, it was kind of overwhelming for me.  I measured the openings where my 2 shelves would go (and learned the hard way to allow for how much the saw blade will take out of the MDF.  Duh.)  I used 1/2" MDF and cut bottoms, sides and backs for my shelves. 

Before I glued them in, we (my husband and I) used a hole saw (similar to this one) to cut holes in the back of the shelves for cords to go through.  I just used Gorilla Glue to put the shelves in.  That stuff really expands, so don't use too much.  As it was drying, I regularly checked on it to wipe away any excess glue.  I had to get pretty creative on how to clamp the shelves down.  I turned the dresser on its side and back and used books, heavy tools, clamps and all sorts of things.  Hey, it worked.

So, the shelves look really unfinished at this point, so we used a miter saw to cut small decorative trim to cover the MDF boards.  I didn't take a picture of that before it was painted, but here's an up-close of the painted/distressed trim.  We nailed them in using finishing brads.  And then I raided my scrapbook supplies and used my eyelet setting tools to sink the brads in the trim and then used spackle to cover the small hole.

Now we were ready to paint!  While I was doing of the prep work, I happened upon a picture of a dresser repaint that I loved, and I used that as my paint inspiration.  I used Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint to paint the existing hardware.  I do wish I had spray primed it first.  I might end up having to redo those at some point.

We were able to borrow a small Graco Project Painter paint sprayer from a friend (we used it for the primer, too).  I used Sherwin-Williams ProClassic paint in Marshmallow, thinned down with XIM Latex Extender for the sprayer.  In between coats, I did a light sanding and then used a tack cloth to really get it cleaned off.  It took a few coats of paint (3 on the drawers and 2 on the dresser).

Then we used a sponge roller to paint the black (Sherwin-Williams All Surface Enamel, thinned a LOT with the Latex Extender) on the top.  I did this several times trying to achieve a perfect finish.  I didn't get perfect, but I got close.

I hadn't decided yet if I was going to distress it or not.  But then I realized that I hadn't smooth out all the imperfections in the wood (back after I primed).  If it wasn't going to be perfect, it was going to look like I meant it to be that way.  So, I grabbed a sanding block and started distressing.  I did rub a little bit of dark stain on (and then quickly wiped off) some of the distressed parts that weren't dark enough.

And at last, we used the sprayer to put on a coat of water based polyurethane to seal in the awesomeness.  And then we were finished. 

This project took me several weeks to complete (an hour here, an few minutes there), and I can honestly say it was completely worth it.  It is my absolute favorite piece of furniture in my house.  And it is so fun to be able to say that my husband and I did it together.

Doesn't that look amazing you guys!  Great job Kathi--I really love it!


Centerpiece Using IKEA Mirror

This was a guest post a while back on Tutus and Tea Parties but here it is again if you missed it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Glitter Animals and Candy Cane Art

Remember that one time when it was a week before Christmas and all your gifts were purchased and mailed, and your meals and shopping were planned and you had all your activities lined up and ready to go for when your kids start winter break tomorrow?  Yeah, me neither :)

 But, today's post has a couple of kid-friendly ideas for you, and info about some giveaways at the end.  And who doesn't love that!

First up are these glitter animals in waterless snow globes.  There are several tutorials around for these, and I think I just morphed a few in what we came up with.  

Here's what we used:
Plastic animals (found a jungle set at Fred Meyer for $1.50)
Mod Podge and small paint brushes
Acrylic spray sealer (if you have it--I had some already from another project and it definitely helps the glitter stay on, but it's not necessary to run out and buy a can if you won't use it for anything else)
Empty jars with lids (we used pickle jars and a broth base jar)
Epsom Salt
Fake pine branches
Red berries from a garland
Hot Glue
Small plastic caps

Here's how we made them:
Prepare jars by removing labels.  Soak the whole jar in warm soapy water for a couple of hours and they should peel right off.

Prepare animals by painting with Mod Podge then covering with glitter.  Each of my kids helped with this part (ages 4-8) and I sped the drying with my hair dryer.  Then spray with acrylic sealer (I did this myself outside, and again, used the hair dryer)

Make the pine trees.  I originally planned to buy the little fake trees at the dollar store that they had near their miniature village displays.  But, you know how it goes, if you don't grab it from the dollar store when you first see it, when you go back it will all be gone!

So I clipped off section of a plastic garland I had and trimmed the top so it tapered a little like a tree, then hot glued red berries I pulled off from another garland.

To assemble, I glued a plastic cap to the inside of a jar lid (to give some height) and glued the glittered animal on top of it.  Then I glued in the little tree, making sure to keep everything near the center of the lid so nothing would interfere with it screwing on the jar later.  When the glue has cooled, pour a few tablespoons of Epsom salt into the jar.  Screw the lid onto the jar and turn the whole thing over.  Shake the salt around to the bottom and check if you need more or less in there.

And that's it!

For another decoration that kids can help with, check out the candy cane art  I'm sharing at One Creative Mommy today. 

And today is the last day to enter her giveaway too with gift cards to Bath and Body Works, Harry and David, Amazon and other great prizes.
Click here to see the first post of the series and enter the giveaway


Monday, December 17, 2012

My Thoughts

I don't have anything remarkable or particularly inspiring to say, but I don't want to simply say nothing.  My heart hurts for so many people right now.  My tears and prayers have joined those of so many others this weekend.  And also like so many others, I've held my children tighter, played games instead of doing laundry, and tried to be kinder and more patient with everyone around me.

I talked to my kids briefly about what happened, to make sure that they heard it from me before they went back to school.  And you know what?--it was my sweet children who gathered around me with hugs as I started crying.

As I see so many things that are out of my control, I hope that what I can control will be a power for good: my words, my actions, my attitude.

My family continues to pray that there may be peace and comfort for all the victims' families.  And for everyone else who is hurting, for not all tragedies become national news.  We will still look for the good in others and hopefully be inspired to be more of that good as well.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Painted Joy Sign

I've seen a couple of JOY signs lately that I've really liked, and decided to create my own.  

This one I saw on SAS Interiors.

I had a couple of cedar fence pieces in the garage already, so I didn't even have to cut any wood.  I just attached them with some large craft sticks and nails in the back, like this:

Then I painted the whole thing white and cut the letters from vinyl and used the outline as a stencil.  I used Georgia font, and each letter is 5.5 inches tall.

I painted in the letters with red and removed the vinyl.  When everything was dry I ran my palm sander over everything to distress it a little.

Do you have any "JOY" art on display with your Christmas decorations?