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Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Discover Your Style

Ever wish you had a stylist in your closet, ready to pick out your outfits and make you look your best?  Yeah, me too...but that's not gonna happen :)  But I got to read an ebook that comes pretty close and it's easy to follow!

My friend Ashley (at Flats to Flip Flops) wrote a book called Discovering Your Style in 7 Days or Less and not only does it have great information, there are assignments and checklist so you can really make progress.

I used it help me shop and pack for my vacation last month. One thing I discovered is that I like the look of layers, colors and even mixing patterns, but I didn't have the clothes that matched that.  I found that by just purchasing a few new items I could create several outfits.

Here are some examples from our Portugal pictures.  (My regret was that I couldn't bring my flat iron--we were afraid that it would fry even with a converter over there.  But then it was so windy most days I just pulled my hair in a ponytail anyway :)

Yellow sweater, red jacket, jeans and an orange scarf 
(that I bought there in Portugal!)

Teal shirt and scarf, white jacket and purple pants.

Striped shirt, pink floral scarf and jeans.

White ruffle tank, chambray shirt, coral pants.

So thanks for your help Ashley.  How do you guys all think I did?  If you're ready to breath some new life into your wardrobe but don't quite know where to start, now you know where to find help!  Discovering Your Style in 7 Days or Less

**Also, I have an amazing giveaway starting next Monday, plus lots of other fun ideas coming up, so make sure you transfer your Google Reader feed to a new reader like Feedly or Bloglovin' or follow along one of the other ways below so you don't miss a thing :)
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Posting at Darling Doodles

Hey guys, just popping in today to send you over to Darling Doodles for Brie's Summertime Series where I've got a super fun, easy and cheap game to put together for your kids.  Go see what it's for and how to make your own!

Also, I have an amazing giveaway starting next Monday, plus lots of other fun ideas coming up, so make sure you transfer your Google Reader feed to a new reader like Feedly or Bloglovin' or follow along one of the other ways below so you don't miss a thing :)
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Painted Princess Beads

Remember when I showed you all the princess necklaces I painted?  I also did some more detailed one that I posted on Undercover Tourist.  If you didn't see them there, here's your chance now.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Drawstring Toy Bags

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I know I'm not the first person to struggle with toy storage. Just Google the topic and you'll find loads of  ideas. The trick is finding what works for you and your kids!  I made these a few months ago and shared them at Craftaholics Anonymous. So far these drawstring canvas bags have been perfect because they hold a lot of stuff and they're out of the way while still being accessible. Plus clean up is a breeze.  

I chose drop cloths because the canvas is pretty cheap, and it’s nice and sturdy.  It’s a  great neutral color that would go with any decor, and they can be dressed up more if you want.

Here’s what you’ll need for 1 bag: 
  • Canvas drop cloth for bag: cut to 18 in x 38 in
  • Canvas for loop: cut to 3 in x 6 in
  • Thin cording 1 yard (can be found on spools at JoAnns)
  • Cord lock for holding the bag closed when cord is cinched.  (I purchased mine from Oregon Cord Lock–no affiliation, but I found them to have great color options and prices, I used the mini locks in teal)
  • Optional: Paint, stencils, or heat transfer vinyl,  for labeling the bag

Create a hanging loop by folding small canvas piece in half the long way {so that it measures 1.5 in x 6 in} and sewing a 1/2 inch seam along the longest edge.  Turn inside out (one of these loop turner tools comes in very handy) 

 then iron flat.

Fold bag fabric in half {so that it measures 18 in x 19 in} and the 18 inch sides line up

1–With the fold towards you, fold down the right hand corners at a slight angle {both layers}, about 2 inches down, and iron. Then sew the folds in place. {refer to image 1 above}  The angled red lines are where you will sew the folds, and the straight red lines are where you’ll sew the side seam in Step 3 below.
2–Take the sewn loop fabric, fold in half, and pin inside the left seam of the bag, about 2 inches down, lining up raw 
3–Sew bag’s side seams with 1/2 inch seam.  On right side, follow red line straight up so an opening remains at the top. Zigzag stitch the raw edges of both side seams as well as the top raw edges to prevent unraveling.
4–Fold the top raw edge down 1 in and sew at 1/4 in from zigzag edge to create casing.
Finish the ends of the cord using a flame, fray check or clear nail polish. Then thread cord though the casing by attaching a safety pin to one end and pushing it through.
Once both cord ends are out, insert through a cord lock.  Tie the ends in a square knot.

At this point you can label the bag any way you like, or not at all.  I chose images to make stencils from freezer paper. I ironed the freezer paper stencils shiny side down to stick to the fabric and then painted with regular acrylic paint. {fabric paint works great too.}  Before you paint or stencil your bag, make sure to put a piece of paper inside the bag where you’ll be painting. This prevents paint from seeping through.

Finally, I hung 3 hooks in my son’s closet (using drywall anchors for each one of the screws) so the toy bags are accessible but off of the floor.

These could also be great if you have summer travel coming up.  Let me know if you have any questions, and if you make some too I'd love to see them!  Share and I'll add your link to this post :)

Wondering what to do with the leftover drop cloth?

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Campus Book Rentals

In the last week several of my friends have graduated from high school.  Ok, that makes me sound a lot younger than I actually am.  We're not hang-out-on-the-weekend-and-text-each-other type friends.  But I still consider these graduates (and their families) my friends and I couldn't be more excited for all the things they have ahead of them.  When I was their age, people barely had pagers.  When I was in college I knew only a handful of people who owned cell phones.  And I thought it was so weird :)

If there's one thing that hasn't changed though, it's how surprising the cost of all those textbooks can be! Campus Book Rentals is trying to help with that though.  

I wish it had been around when I was in the market for textbooks!   In fact, I recently had one of those "college nightmares"---does anyone else have those dreams where you're back in college but you suddenly realize that you have a class you haven't been attending all semester and now have 3 papers due? ---in this particular dream I hadn't even bought the book I needed for the class :)  That's when I wake up and realize that maybe getting lunches ready for my kids isn't so stressful!

In the short video here you'll learn how it works, like you can save 40-90% off of bookstore prices, you'll get free shipping both ways and you can even highlight in the books!

Anyway, if you or anyone you know need textbooks now, or in the fall, check out Campus Book Rentals as well as their new program where you can rent out books that you own.

Such a great idea if you have a book that you'd like to hold on to, but don't necessarily need in your current semester.  So good luck graduates, and may you not end up in the one class that requires the professors self-authored book that is twice as expensive as the other ones :)

This post is sponsored by 
Campus Book Rentals      
All thoughts and opinions are my own
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Point of View Features....Outdoors

For some of you, the summer may be totally flying by.  Ours is just starting today!

Yesterday I sent my kids off to school with little gifts for their teachers and bus driver, and today is pretty much just two hours of picking up report cards and saying goodbye to everyone.

Another summer fun bag is waiting for them when they get home.  Hopefully it can convince my 1st grader that summer can be fun (she has *not* been looking forward to the end of school)  I recall that it helped cheer her up last year after crying the whole way home on the bus :)

Finally,  I wanted to share a couple of my favorite link-ups from the Point of View party last month on Outdoors.  As a heads up, next week the link party theme will be Furniture, so if you have any favorite furniture makeovers you've done, be sure to come and share them!  

3 Hour Flagstone Patio  by Smart Girls DIY
I can't believe it only took 3 hours, but it looks awesome!  Great instructions here:

Nature Blocks by Sowdering About in Seattle
These are so cute...you have to see all the ways she staged them!

Patio Cover by Organizing Made Fun
Who wouldn't love to hang out here all the time!


\Grab a button if you were featured, and follow the Point of View Pinterest board for even more of our favorite link ups!

**New paper earring designs up at Craftaholics Anonymous today--go check it out!**

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Monday, June 17, 2013

The Truth About Creativity (and Motivation and Inspiration)

Alternate title:  The Truth about Crafts and Blogs.
For the weeks leading up to our vacation last month I was extremely busy.  In addition to regular life activities, there was a ton of prep work to take care of.  I was very much looking forward to the break, the sightseeing, the experiences, everything.  

You can read about some of what I was doing do get things ready for the kids here, at Brassy Apple.

When we came back I was surprised to find that I didn't magically transform into super mom.  I still didn't want to plan menus and make dinners, clothes still ended up on the floor of each bedroom and it took less than 24 hours for each of our kids to be mad at us for something.

Then, there was the blog.  I had pre-scheduled a couple of  completed crafts for while I was gone, not wanting to leave a gap of too much time between posts.  I assumed that upon my return I'd be overflowing with new project ideas, refreshed from time alone with my husband, and ready to jump right back in to my hobby.

But that didn't happen!  And it's not strictly a hobby anymore.  I am a contributor or team member on 3 different blogs plus an online magazine.  I enjoy all of these opportunities of course, but it means that I have obligations to provide material--and quality material too :)  And sometimes that pressure can have a negative effect on motivation.  I admit that I've experienced it.  I guessing some of you have as well, or I'm going to feel pretty silly writing all of this :)

I've collected a few of the tricks I used, as well as suggestions I received on Facebook.  Hopefully these will all be useful to you some day too!

  • Browse your go-to inspiration place.  Favorite magazine? Favorite blog?  Pinterest boards? Catalogs? 
  • Switch up your inspiration place.  Do you spend most of your time online?  Try printed material.
  • Find a project you can complete in about 15 minutes.  Doing something small, but actually finishing it, can be enough to break through the paralyzing feelings.  I took an empty container, wrapped a few strips of washi tape around it--boom--pretty pen holder :)
  • Check your project list.  I keep running lists of projects I'd like to do someday--decorations for different rooms, things to make for me or for my kids to play with.  Like hanging bags for toy storage for example.  Sometimes when I'm low on mojo it's a good time to look at that list and see what I could work on.
  • Take some time to organize your supplies and work area.  Whether you have a couple of shoe boxes with paper and buttons, or a whole room brimming with everything from fabric to paint, looking at what you have again can spark a new idea.  Or remind you of things you purchased that you've forgotten about! It's also amazing what a cleared space can do for motivation. 
  • Try to be inspired by something unrelated to your actual project.  Search outfits for colors or textures you can use on a card or artwork. 
    orange & navy

  • Try a different medium or technique.  This doesn't have to mean spending money on a whole new hobby.  Maybe you just try painting on a new surface.
  •  Take the kids to the IKEA play land and wander around for an hour.  Buy something...or not...but just look for ideas.
  • Walk around a craft store and check out their different displays and examples.
  • Walk away all together.  Honestly, sometimes none of these strategies are going to work :)  Go for a hike, play a board game with your kids, spend time with your significant other or another friend.
Now it's time to share your advice...what do you like to do when you need new ideas?  Have you done some of these already and have they helped?

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Children's Fun Giveaway

Happy Thursday everybody!  We're sprinting through the last few days of school here, and I'm off helping at field day today.  If you also have kids who are also nearly on summer break, or have already been out for a couple of weeks, you'll love this giveway that's full of kid-friendly prizes! 

I'm teaming up with Dianna from Whatever DeeDee Wants She's Gonna Get It as well as these other fabulous bloggers 
and we get to bring you this:

One winner will receive a $50 gift card to Wish-Works by Chasing Fireflies (where you can find all kinds of themed party supplies) ALEX makers, ALEX Rub a Dub Draw in the Tub set, Melissa and Doug paint your own treasure box kit, Skip Hop Owl backpack and if that weren't enough...$100 to Gymboree for finding fun summer outfits or even (don't say it!) back-to-school clothes!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Like the Gymboree Facebook and follow Gymboree on Twitter to get updated on the latest fashions for kids 

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fancy and Frugal Wedding Decorations

I was recently able to help a friend decorate for her daughter's wedding and it was so much fun!  I wanted to show off the things that I put together.  Maybe someone will take an idea or two!

Most of these pictures were just taken with my phone but hopefully you can still tell how great things looked. 

First up are these coffee filter wreaths.  I got the pretty pink/almost peachy color by dying the coffee filters first in "red tea"  3 tea bags in a cup of water, then after the bags come out add 2 or 3 drops of red food coloring and stir.

To help the filters dry quickly and also not loose their shape, I put a stack in a glass cup and worked on it with my hair dryer.

Cut a ring from white poster board about 14 inches across with a hole about 10 inches across so the ring is about 2 inches "thick"  Take 4 coffee filters to make one blossom.  Stack 2. Gather 2 into a point, then put those in the center of the two others and pinch them all together.  Cut off about 1 1/2 inches, spread hot glue on the cut edge and place down onto the ring holding in place until glue sets.

Continue until the ring is filled up.  Mine took 12 flowers, but yours may take a little more or less, depending on how close you put them together.  After they are all glued on, you can separate the layers a bit, making them poof out a little more or add in some single filters.

They were hung on wooden frames that had been "washed" with some paint and then on these cool old doors.

The centerpieces were borrowed glass cylinders that had been wrapped in tea-stained sheet music and some sheer ribbon in a couple of the wedding colors.  Clear marbles, a tea light and a single (fake) flower went in each one.  

Near the sign in table we had this name sign hanging.  It was the first item I  made, and the  newlyweds got to take it with them to their new place.  It's simply a wood board that I darkened with some watered-down brown and black paint (wood stain would work too of course, but I wanted to use what I had!)  Then the name and date are just white vinyl.  I made "Reserved" table signs the same way for a couple of the reception tables.  I attached a small piece of 2x2 to the back of each one with E6000 so they would stand on their own.

Continuing the infusion of the music theme, I took this oval paper mache box and used Mod Podge to attach torn pieces of sheet music all over it.  I wrapped gray ribbon around the box and added one of the pink coffee filter flowers.  The lid got a piece of gray cardstock and was labeled "cards" -- and by the end of the evening it was overflowing with cards for the happy couple. 

Finally I made several of these coffee filter poofy things :)  I don't have pictures of the process, but basically you just ball up a bunch of paper towels, secure it with masking tape, and then hot glue coffee filters all over it.  We made some in a few sizes, and I've tucked the idea away for kids room decoration some day maybe.  And they could by dyed in any color.

It was a lot of fun coming up with ideas and putting everything together.  And in the end, the bride and groom looked deliriously happy...and that's what matters most :)

Are you DIYing any wedding stuff this summer?  What color themes are you seeing this year?

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Painted Glass Plate

Last month I shared this plate over at Brassy Apple and there's still plenty of time to whip one up for Father's Day (or for any other occasion you want!)

Since my husband reads my blog too, this won't end up being a surprise for him...but he's fine with that.  And he still doesn't know what I'll let the kids pick out to put on it for him.

Anyway, on to the tutorial...

You'll need:
A smooth, clear glass plate (this came from IKEA for 99c)
Rubbing alcohol, or eye glass cleaning wipe (which is what I used since it's so easy!)
Glass paints (like Gloss Enamels by DecoArt)
Paint brushes...stencil brushes work best 
Stencil cut out of vinyl or contact paper with the word you want to paint on your plate, DAD in our case  (remember to make it in reverse because it goes on the back of the plate)

Clean backside of plate with rubbing alcohol.  When dry, adhere stencil to the back center of the plate.

 Choose your paint colors.  I decided to use 3, one to represent each child.  Squirt a small amount onto a piece of foil and help children paint inside the stencil on the plate.  I had each child do one letter. 

Pull up the stencil while the paint it still wet, or it will stick to the stencil and peel off of the plate.

To set the paint you will do two rounds of baking.  Set plate in cool oven and heat to 325.  Then start timer for 30 minutes, turn off oven at the end of 30 minutes and let the plate cool in the oven.  Repeat this process again and the paint will be permanent and dishwasher safe.  

Now we have a great little plate for Dad that represents each of his kids, and he can actually eat off of it too!  If you use this technique on a plate, I'd love to see the result.

I'll also show you the first version I tried, which came out really cool, but had some difficulties   Alternating colors we did several layers of paint dots (using the handle of a small paint brush)  I used a hair dryer to speed the drying process between each layer.  When each letter was completely filled in with dots, I went to pull up the stencil, and yep--the paint was coming up with it!  I had to cut all around the outline of the letters with an exacto knife to remove the stencil.  So if you want to go a more detailed route with your paint, be ready to cut around everything, and the lines might not be totally perfect.  

Now load up the finished plate with some of Dad's favorite treats, or his requested dinner!

And since I love sharing these old pictures, check out this post with a couple more Father's Day ideas

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