Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Project Life 2013 - week 8

Eight weeks in already, waa hoo!  I'm going to keep this one short this week for two reasons, dinner will be ready in minutes and my spread this week is so simple it doesn't need a lot of chatter.

So here you go,

The left side is pretty much consumed by my birthday...  I had a special post started but decided instead of dwelling and causing a whole bunch of attention to the subject I'd let it pass and just document the day in photos.  It was an amazing day, I just wish I wasn't staring that number down. 

The right side was filled in with the best bits of the rest of the week.  The calendar card on the title page is from the February Studio Calico Project Life kit, I embellished the slot with two Heidi Swapp disco hearts, love these things!  The backing is a piece from the Echo Park Today's Story paper by Allison Kreft.  I made the cookie slot myself with some images I found on line because I didn't like the photo I took of our boxes, same story for the Shamrock Shake picture.  A cute photo of Simone and Grandma and a tiny bit about the Oscars and it's done.

It's nice to keep it simple some weeks.  I think I was just overly drained from all the extra home projects this past week, I guess my creative tank is a bit depleted!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Family Room ReDo Completed

Well, we finally got everything hung up on the wall in our family room and I love how it all turned out.  Eclectic for sure, but it all seems to work.

Here is a look at the whole wall.  I have one little spot on the upper right side that has room for something else, so I'm on the look out for something to go there.  Six of the 10 items I actually made/crafted myself (with assistance from the hubs) so I'm pretty happy about that. 

Here is a look at the left side closer. 

The chalkboard sign you've already seen, the P was purchased at the craft store, its one of the cardboard letters that they have in different sizes.  I painted it with a base coat of this spray paint with a few layers of this one sprayed randomly on top.  The photo of Simone above it was one I took with my iphone and edited with a few different apps, it's a favorite for sure.  The shadow box was purchased at Home Goods and I filled it with a few souvenirs and do-dads from around the house.  Simone added one too, can you guess which one?  I also left some space so I could set something on top of the shadow box at a later date.

In the center of the wall is our most recent family photo.  I purchased a groupon at the end of last year for two photo canvas' and this was one that I did and I just love the way it turned out.  Above it is another version of the embroidery I did recently in my Project Life album, seen here.  It's done right on a 10x10 canvas that I stained with some random stain we had laying around.  I framed out the top of the canvas with some balsa wood I purchased at the craft store.  It was painted with the same paint I used above on the P for the second coat and I just hot glued it to the top of the frame.

One of the things I wanted to do with this wall was have a place to put some photos and change it out here and there.  I've seen several different types of photo hangers out there but wanted to make one myself.  I purchased this frame at Ikea and we painted the backing piece with the same spray paint I used on the P for the first coat.  My husband drilled a few holes into the interior molding and ran three lengths of copper wire for me.  We reassembled the frame backwards so the glass would be on the back instead of the front so I could have access to change out the pictures.  Super easy project that can easily be done in one day.

Here are some photos of the process;

this is the interior piece that he drilled the holes in for the wire.

Here is a look at the wall from the right hand side.  I purchased the silver gilded tray at Home Goods as well.  I plan to add flowers to it instead of a candle.  The chalkboard tray below you've seen already and the map below it was a last minute edition that I made Saturday evening.

I really wanted to add some sort of map element to the wall and couldn't find anything that wasn't really large.  I had initially laid this out in Photoshop to fit a 12 x 8 frame I had on hand, but in the end I wanted a more hand made look so I decided to try to cut the map out with my Cameo.  There is a map image in the Silhouette store but the states all fit snug together and I wanted just the state outlines.  I ended up having to make this myself and it took quite a few hours to get it right and quite a few starts and stops because things weren't working for me.  After a few not so good attempts I finally got it to cut and lift off the mat in one piece and I was so happy with how it turned out. 
I cut it out of textured white cardstock, and picked another piece of gray cardstock as the background.  I didn't want the whole thing stuck tightly to the backing paper so I only put a bit of adhesive randomly, mainly in the areas that had larger sections so it would stick.  One trick I've come up with for adding adhesive to really tiny areas is to lay a piece of waxed paper down and roll my dot roller over my items while they're on top of the waxed paper.  The extra adhesive sticks to the waxed paper but still allows me to lift it off.  I covered three Studio Calico veneer hearts with three coats of Red Glitter Zing embossing powder and placed them on the map to represent where our family lives and ourselves too.  I printed the quote on a piece of vellum and cut the banner shape myself.  Even with the veneer hearts I was able to reassemble the frame with the glass and it closed up just fine.

Here are some close ups.

I do believe this is now my most favorite item I've ever made and I'm beyond thrilled with how it turned out.

I had a lot of positive responses on Instagram the other night when I posted it and several asked for the file.  So if you want it, I'm happy to share.  You can download it here.

I did add both Hawaii and Alaska to the file but will say I have not cut these myself and seeing as so many bits of these states are tiny I cannot vouch for it working for you.  However the mainland states will cut but I would advise slowing down your cutting speed, not using super thick paper and taking your time lifting it off your mat.  I did a fair amount of clean up with an exacto knife after I got mine off the mat.

Thanks so much for looking and I hope you love the file.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Project Life 2013 - week 7

Valentine's Week!  Lots of stuff to include this week so I have my first insert for the year.

Here is the full spread

I kind of went crazy with the neon pink on this side.  I just loved the cards I picked up from Mertilton and had to use a few this week.   I had to include some more Downton Abbey bits.  Still not sure how I feel about the finale.  A bit let down is how I'm feeling and sad I suppose that the season is over already. 

Here's a close up of my title card.  I hand stitched and when I was done my poor finger tips were so sore.  I guess I'm out of practice holding a needle and going through photo paper didn't help.  I do love how it turned out so all is good.  I stamped the calendar with my new Amy Tangerine calendar stamp set on a piece of vellum and just circled the dates with a pink fine point Sharpie.

Here is the front of the insert.  The black card came in the Studio Calico February Project Life kit.  There were so many awesome cards for Valentine's Day, I had a hard time choosing.  Some can be used for other things so I went with what worked best for my needs.  

Here is the back of the insert.  The two cards in the middle are from the Studio Calico February Project Life kit as well.  It's a 6x4 card that I ran through my printer to add my journaling and then cut it down the middle to fit in the two pockets.

Here is the left side up close.  Again, still loving the large vertical photos that have become a bit of a highlight for me.  The Peter Pan graphic is from an iphone game called Pop Icon Quiz.  I love all their graphics and when I was playing and this one popped up as a question I knew I had to use it in this weeks spread since we just bought the movie. 

I hope you have a great rest of the week!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chalkboard art made easy

I've been wanting to redo the main focal wall of our family room for some time now and finally decided to tackle it.  I've looked longingly at all the amazing gallery walls on Pinterest long enough!

I wanted to try to make as many things as I could for this new wall and decided I wanted a few chalkboard elements included.  I decided to try two different things to see how it would go.  I have several plain art canvas' laying around and at Christmas time I picked up two faux silver trays at the dollar store.  Armed with a can of Chalkboard spray paint I was ready to go.

The first thing I did was tape off the edges of the two trays I planned to paint.  It's definitely easier to work with the straight sided tray.  The other one I painted was oval and that took quite awhile to tape off because of the curved edges.

The canvas was an inexpensive one from the craft store, it's 16 x 20 and it was pre-primed.  My husband did the first few coats for me and since we had a nice sunny day the coats dried quickly.  I wanted to make sure we had a really nice coat of the paint on each piece so I bet we had at least 8 thin coats on each piece.  The trays each had an embossed design on the center section and after we were done painting these were no longer visible. 

I left them outside to dry for several hours and left them to cure for two days before I added any chalk to them.  Not sure that step was necessary but its what I did and since I wasn't sure what I was going to put on them it gave me a few days to decide.

I have a list of several items I wanted to incorporate into my new wall and one thing that I wanted to make sure to do was make it as personal as I could.  I decided to pay homage to the year we got married on the small rectangular silver tray.

Since I'm not that great at free hand drawing anything I knew if I had something to look at I can usually copy something with fairly good success.  When I was designing what I wanted in Photoshop Elements I realized that if I just cut out what I had designed on my Cameo I could just use it as a stencil.

Here is my design cut and placed and ready to fill in.

I just held it down tight and basically colored in the stencil with chalk.  When it was pretty well covered I removed the paper and did any clean up needed.  I made sure to fill everything in the best I could and cleaned up all the stray bits of chalk dust.  And trust me, there was a lot of it. 

Here is the finished tray, I added the hearts myself because that corner looked a bit bare.  I need to figure out how to seal them since they will be hanging on the wall and will gather dust.  I've heard hair spray works but I'm still researching that. 

* One thing I want to add is I did not season these pieces as you normally would with a newly painted chalkboard piece.  I decided not to do that because I wanted the dark black background vs. the chalky white one you would get on a seasoned board.  This was purely a personal choice but I'm sure the pieces would have stood up to a good rub down with chalk.

For the canvas I decided to first drawn my own frame around the edge.  I used a piece of paper cut a bit smaller than my canvas size and just dragged my chalk along the edge while I made sure to hold it down tight.  It created a nice sharp edge on one side and a softer more irregular edge on the other.

I repeated with a smaller piece of paper to make another frame line and when I was done I added lines in the corners to mimic the mitered edge of a picture frame.

What to put in the frame took some time to decided.  Eventually after much deliberation and approval from my husband I decided on a line from a favorite song.  I used the same technique as the tray to add my text to this piece.  I decided to make the font more graphic since the other was so curvy, I thought it would be a nice contrast to use different styles for each piece since they will hang on the same wall.  Before I started filling in my text I placed a book underneath the canvas that was the same thickness.  It helped to have a nice firm surface to fill in each letter.  I did save all the centers of each letter from my template like the A, D, O, R and B and just laid them down holding carefully while I filled in each letter.  I thought it would be easier to do that than try to remove the chalk after and I definitely think it was.  I had a fair amount of clean up to do on this piece and just dipped q-tips in a bit of water to help get any large smudges off.  It took some time but eventually I got it cleaned up to my liking while still leaving a few stray bits to keep it looking hand done. 

Here are the two finished pieces together.

I could see so many possibilities with this, using my Cameo just took so much of the stress of free hand drawing away.  If you don't have a Cameo you could still design your art, print it out on your home comptuer and cut it out with a sharp craft knife and go from there.

I have a few more hand made items for my wall so I'll share those as they get done.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Project Lie 2013 - week 6

Loving all the love this week and couldn't help adding lots of pink, red and hearts to my spread.  Since my UPS man still hasn't arrived with my February Studio Calico Project Life kit, I had to improvise and make due without it.

Here is the full spread.

And each side up close.

Simone had a school field trip Monday, lots of fun for her so much so she actually napped.  I actually pulled over to snap that photo of the clouds, my favorite for sure.  Lots of heart candy on display, as you saw earlier this week.  Simone taking over the obsession of the Flow game and doing really well at it too.  Larry bought himself some more crab, and I bought a super cute heart sweater.

The title card was made by me, the pink hearts are outlined in gold glitter and the alternating ones are solid gold glitter, hard to see in this photo and I'm sorry about that.  The QR code on the next photo is a Vine video I posted of us assembling Simone's Valentines.  Some song lyrics that have been playing non stop in my head.  I was finally able to use the awesome overlay that came in the January kit to accompany my photo of our little Ikea hack project we've been working on.  I backed the overlay with some brown woodgrain paper.  A few shots of our pretty nails and our baking session you saw earlier this week.  Mmm, Peep, making me hungry for one.  A screen grab of a fun new quiz game I downloaded, love the graphics of this game.  And some shots of my two favorite parts of this past Sunday's Downton Abbey.

This week went together pretty quickly, its all digital so that always helps me make it faster.  Really hoped to have some of my PL kit to use on this spread, but since it literally just arrived as I'm writing this it will have to wait for next week.

Thanks as always for stopping by. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day prep

We're fast approaching the 14th and we've been having some fun getting ready for Valentine's Day.  I love everything about this month, I love the heart shaped candy, I love all the pink and red hearts, and I love all the love themed clothing, I mean how can you go wrong with this stuff.

Simone of course loves it all just as much which is awesome so when we decided to make our own Valentine's for her school friends she was totally on board. There are so many awesome ideas on Pinterest for cute little treats that don't involve candy and we decided to go with the one with the cute crazy straws. It was fun tracking down the supplies and I found these cute straws at Target in the party section, I'm finding a lot of good items in that section lately and these straws were only $3.00 for a dozen.  The original idea for this little gift was just the crazy straw and the card slipped on it but I decided to add in a single serve drink mix too.  I found the single serve drinks mixes and the heart cellophane bags at my dollar store.  I picked up the heart doily's at Joann's and made the sentiment card myself and cut it out with my Cameo.

It was all hands on deck for the assembly and Simone had fun for about 15 minutes. She did a great job attaching the little heart cards I made to the doily's and stuffing all the straws and drink mixes into the bags but by then she was bored and abandoned the project.

I used my tiny attacher to adhere the twisty ties that came with the cellophane bags to the cards.

Here they are all done.  I think they came out super cute and I hope the kids like them. 

Simone has also been asking to make Valentine cookies since mid January so we finally set out to do some baking this past Saturday.  We decided to make some cookies and she also asked to make rice crispy treats.  We decided to make them pink and found these giant strawberry and vanilla marshmallows at our grocery store.

She did a good job mixing and didn't let anything burn.

You might guess who was in charge of sprinkle distribution....

For the cookies I wanted to try something new and found this yummy recipe online for Dark Chocolate Sugar Cookies.  The dough was super easy to make and I followed the suggestion to use the Hershey Special Dark cocoa powder.  The dough was amazing, so silky and smooth, and when you rolled it out it was heaven.  Here they are cut and ready to bake.

Someone wanted more sprinkles so I decided to melt some semi sweet morsels and dipped the top bit of each cookie, some got sprinkles and then I let them harden in the fridge.  I hope you try them because these cookies are delicious!

I hope you have a great Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Project Life 2013 - Week 5

February already!  I love this month, lots of fun stuff to look forward to and we are inching our way toward Spring.  I had a lot of great stuff to include this week so lets get too it.

Here is the full spread

And each side up close, remember you can always click on them to open them up larger.

I wasn't sure how to handle the date card this month, I couldn't use a calendar like I did on the past few weeks because we carried over to a new month.  After many starts and many deletions I ended up with this.  Its the first time I used a photo for the backdrop of my date card and I liked it a lot.  Its a shot I didn't have room for on the spread but it worked perfectly.  Have you jumped on the Vine bandwagon yet?  I did this past week, its a fun new app for short little 6 second video clips, the QR code is the first video I posted on the app.  I had a down day due to a migraine so I used a who, what, where Seafoam card to document that day without photos.  Simone is the worst to play games with, she only wants to win, I snapped several photos of her while we were playing and loved that I captured these two.  It's definitely a learning curve with her for sure.  The Insta Today card came in a Studio Calico class kit, love that card.  The Hello My Name is the same as the one included in the Studio Calico January Project Life kit but this one is digital, I wanted more so I purchased the kit.  A few random shots and of course the Superbowl.  A sad day for us and I wasn't sure how to capture it so I just included a shot of the three of us before the game started and then used another Seafoam card (digitally altered) to capture the essence of the day.  I really love how this turned out.

I'm so loving the Design D layout so very much and I'm so glad I stuck with this combo.  I love having a chance to highlight some key photos on this side of the spread and I'm totally over the fact that things aren't in order.  Yay for working outside your comfort zone!  And yay for no more rounded corners, the best decision I've made, such a time saver and I like it so much better with the white bordered photos.
This week at preschool the kids started working on recognizing and writing their last names.  I love this shot I snapped of Simone after she wrote it for the first time, even though its a touch blurry.  The best part of February for me is the Valentine's Day colored M&M's.  I look forward to them all year.  Groundhog day, means an early spring this year, who's unhappy about that, no one I'm sure.  I found this graphic online and did a bit of modification.  The original had a shadow that I removed and I added the sun and my own text.  We had a super great night out on Saturday to a local Crab Feed fundraiser, the spread finishes off with several photos from the night.  Initially they took our tickets from us so I asked for mine back so I could snap a photo of it, while my husband explained to the guy, "she's a scrapbooker" which based on the look on his face meant absolutely nothing to him.  Luckily on our way out of the dinner all of the tickets were just laying in a big pile so I grabbed one to include.  This scrapbooker will not be denied her memorabilia!
I hope you have a great rest of the week, thanks for stopping by.