Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Blog Guidebook

I am a follower of so many blogs, and I kept seeing post after post about The Blog Guidebook. So of course, I had to check it out.

It is a place where you can go to find new blogs to read, and they are organized by category.  Plus, they have a bunch of tips, how-to's and other info that will help your blog grow. Did I mention that they have a great list of link parties? And they have amazing giveaways? And you can list your blog for FREE? What are you waiting for? Go check it out.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Easy Subway Art, version 2

A friend of mine, after seeing the subway art I did for another friend, asked me to make one for her newborn. I love making these, so I happily accepted. Here is the finished piece.

Before I got started, I asked her what her requests were, and to send me a picture of her nursery bedding.

I really loved the green with the brown. Momma also asked me to include a passage on the back, which I think is adorable and will totally copy when I make one of these for Ava. So after buying the wood plaque so I'd know what size to make the front, I jumped onto Photoshop and created this piece. I took the birth stats and some cute phrases, and came up with this. On my last tutorial, someone asked if I printed it on colored paper, or printed the background color on white paper. I did the second one. Luckily, hubsters is a graphic designer, and has access to a fantastic printer with poster paper, and these cost me just a couple of bucks to print. I'm sure you could do this with regular paper, I just like the thicker paper. At this point, I sent the proof to mom so she could double check the spelling and stats. Better to have another set of eyes on it. I'd hate to do the whole project, just to realize that I misspelled something.

So now we've had hubsters print out my paper, and I got together all of my supplies. I decided to do this one a little bit differently than my last one. Instead of have the printed paper go all the way to the edge of the wood, I decided to cut the printed paper just outside the words. I wanted to frame that out with a solid piece of cardstock that matched the letters. I knew I wanted to have a piece of scrapbook paper serve as a border around everything. When I was at Hobby Lobby (my FAVE store), I found this gorgeous brown and tan paper. It says things like "Word of God", "comforter", "Jesus", "savior" etc. I knew the momma would love it. The words were subtle enough that I felt with the brown paper border, it wouldn't detract from my printed words. Make sense?

So of course, I first painted the board green to it would have time to dry. I picked a sage green color from my stash that I really liked. While that was drying, I enlisted hubsters to cut out my words and the brown border. He's a lot better at stuff like that, I'll admit it. I tend to be a "go with the flow and eyeball the measurements" type of gal. Hubsters is the "measure, remeasure,  measure again and then cut" type of guy. So he got the privilege of cutting out the main pieces.

In the background, you can see my paint chip art
To cut out the scrapbook paper, I couldn't just measure from the edge, since I wanted certain words to be visible on the front. So I took my measurements, found the section I wanted to be visible on the plaque, and measured out from there. And cut it myself. What what!

Mental note: clean up a little before Hubby takes "in progress" pics. Sweats are not cute. Neither is my hair bun.
So here is where we are at. Pieces cut out, and board painted green. Remember, you don't have to paint the whole board if your paper is going to be covering it. Save yourself some time and paint. I also decided to do the same brown cardstock trim around the scripture on the back.

I first decoupaged the scrapbook paper to the board. To save myself the headache of trying to center the brown trim paper on the scrapbook paper, and then the printed paper on that, I decoupaged the printed paper to the brown trim paper, so they'd act as one piece when I decoupaged it to the scrapbook paper. Make sense?

So then it's just a matter of decoupaging everything together. Easy peasy.

So here we are, at what would have been a finished piece, minus a few more layers of mod podge. But looking at it, I started to hate the sage green paint with the almost mint green print. Blech. So here was my simple solution. Dry brushing. I heart dry brushing. It's super simple, adds so much depth to a piece, and is a life saver for things like these. I grabbed some mint green paint from my stash (I love having about a billion colors on hand so I never have to worry if I have the right color) and dry brushed it on there.

Do you know how to dry brush? Basically, put some paint on your tray (or in my case, a paper plate), load up the paint on the brush, and then dab it off on your napkin/paper plate until most of the paint is off. Then you lightly drag it along whatever you are painting. To keep it from getting on the places it shouldn't be, I just used a scrap piece of paper as a shield.

Ahhhh, much better

Now now it's just time to add some more mod podge to the front of your piece. For the back, I did the same steps, but before I decoupaged the scripture down, I glued on a piece of ribbon with some E6000 glue, and then decoupaged the paper on top of that. It made the back look really clean and finished, I like how it turned out. The back of the board had some great wood knots and a burn mark, but I didn't cover those up completely with paint, I liked the added texture.

So your finished piece would be...

The "Word of God" phrase in the lower right corner was what I wanted visible, so that was what I measured from.

Baby boy's mom loved it, which is the greatest compliment. I can't wait to see it in his room, I'm sure it'll look lovely. And she said it matched his room perfectly. Yay!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Disclipline? Behavior Charts? Stickers? Begging and pleading?

Ugh. That's all I can say about yesterday. It was one of those days when you keep taking deep breaths, and checking the clock, hoping that it's time to get the girls ready for bed.

Ava's been Ava. A bit more clingy than usual, but good as always. She spent 3 days in the hospital thanks to RSV last week.

She's still getting over some chest congestion, so if she wants to snuggle on Mommy and smear snot on my shirt and rub drool in my hair, more power to her.

But today was one of those days that I could have pulled my hair out, while trying not to strangle my older two. Now, I admit, I'm a bit sick, so my temper is a bit on edge, but still, it gets old feeling like you're talking in some strange language that your children don't understand.

It's simple things. Like telling Jasmin not to get her school paperwork out of her backpack while we're in the car, and then she has them out and she's waving them in my face. Like telling the girls to fold their laundry, and they'd rather spend the time arguing about who isn't doing their fair share and throwing the clothes at each other. Like Jasmin shredding the dryer sheet in little pieces and leaving it in the hallway for me to pick up. Like telling Arielle to put my socks on my dresser instead of the bed since I needed to change my sheets. And those socks ended up on my bed, and when I asked her what did I tell her? She replies "you said to put them on your dresser" which shows she did hear me. So when I asked her why that wasn't done, she replies "I don't know what a dresser is." And when I say "Arielle, what is that big black thing right there?" she replies "That's your dresser" and looks at me like I'm an idiot for not knowing what a dresser is. Simple lies, but still, it's a lie. Arielle seems to think that she needs to voice her opinion on everything, and when we try to explain that it's back talk, she doesn't get it. And it's not things like "Whatever, mom" or an eye-roll. But things like when I tell her that it's time to come inside, and I get the "I'm not ready yet. So why?" Sounds silly when I write it, but it's all the time, and I don't feel like I should have to be grilled about who, what, when, where and why whenever I tell her to do something.

Whether or not you agree with it, we do spank in this family, but it's reserved mainly for safety issues. Like when Arielle decided to pull her hand from mine in the grocery store parking lot and run out in front of a slow driving (thank God) car to pick up a penny. Or when I put a hot dish on the table and tell the girls not to touch it because it's hot, and Jasmin decides she wants to reach out and try and touch it.

Don't get me wrong, I have GREAT kids. In restaurants, people always stop by the table to tell us how well behaved our girls are. Our kids aren't the ones running around, screaming, knocking into the waitresses and spilling food everywhere. They know how to behave in public, and what's expected of them. No temper tantrums in public or at home, nothing like that. So I'm lucky for that.

But it's the little things, that by themselves, aren't bad. They really aren't. But when it happens all day, it's completely exhausting. The little lies, the back talk, the laziness. The walking by a hair tie or toy that you left in the hallway, looking at it, and keep walking back into your room. I feel like my motto lately is "I am not your maid."

I'm tired of yelling, and I'm pretty sure they tune me out anyway. I saw a cute bulletin board on another blog where the lady gave each kid a mark when they were being good, and ten marks equal one "stay up late" night. But that wouldn't work in our household. My oldest is a BOOGER when she's tired. So that would be punishment for us.

I'm not into bribes. I knew a mom who would offer to take her kids to McDonalds if they would just stop hitting her. And I'm so thankful that my girls don't act like the brats girls on Toddlers & Tiaras. I won't even let them watch that show, because I don't want them to even think for a minute that acting like that is appropriate. Plus, all the make up and bare midrift outfits skeeve me out. Did anyone else see the two year old who stripped down from an angel outfit, to an outfit with Madonna boob cones? She won the talent portion of the pageant. Are we encouraging that?

So what works in your house?  Behavior charts? M&M's? Hang them up by their toes?


Monday, January 24, 2011

Swap Follower Link Party

Homemaker on a Dime has a great idea. Seriously, I love it.

Why don't you join a party that gets you more followers, instead of just keeping your fingers crossed that people will find your little corner of Blogworld and want to press that little button.

I try not to obsess worry about how many followers I have.
I mean, it's not that having more followers make you more cool.

But I do love seeing that follower number jump up. I was so excited when I hit 25 followers. And then 50. And when I hit triple digits? Oh be still my beating heart!

So this link party is perfect for those of you like me, the ones who want more followers. You post your blog, and in return, you agree to follow at least 2 blogs. But more than 2 is good too. Let's just hope one of them is mine.

So head on over to Homemaker on a Dime and check it out!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wanting children? Read this first.

I found this at Thursdays Kiss and could not stop laughing. It's so true!

Thinking about having kids? Do this 11-Step Program first!

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? T o find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment.
Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

I still wouldn't change my babies for the world, though! Although it would be nice to stop saying "I am NOT your maid" at least 67 times every day.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My easy version of subway art

One of my favorite couples just had an adorable baby girl, we'll call her Miss E. I had signed up to bring them dinner, but wanted to make a little something to bring with me when I dropped off dinner. Everyone loves presents, right? So I thought I'd try my hand at subway art, and this is what I came up with.

I've been seeing all these awesome versions of subway art on different blogs, google, etsy, etc. Jen at Tatertots & Jello did some really cute ones for Valentine's day.

But most of the ones I've been seeing involved vinyl cut from a Cricut or a Silhouette machine.  Well, I don't have either of those, so here is my solution.

I stopped by Walmart, and picked up a wood board in the craft section for $4. I sanded off the rough spots, and spray painted it pink, since I knew Miss E's room was mainly pink. I wasn't worried about the center of the board having good coverage, since I knew it'd be covered up anyway.

So while that was drying, I hopped onto photoshop, and with the dimensions of the board, I took the birth information (name, weight, length, date, time), and added some cute sayings that I knew they'd love. Then it was just a matter of playing with fonts and sizes (combined with a few questions to my graphic designer hubby for a second opinion).

So I had hubby print it out, and I used my trusty mod podge to attach it to the front of the board. I'm not cool enough to have a brayer yet, so I just put a sheet of wax paper on the front, and used a rolling pin to work out all the bubbles. Worked pretty well, although I'll probably pick up a brayer with this weeks 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby, just so hubby stops giving me dirty looks when I use kitchen tools for my crafts.

That was originally my plan, the painted board and the paper. But after looking at it, I thought it looked too plain. Then I remembered these scrapbooking decals that my friend Heather sent me. I double checked the pic that Miss E's momma sent me of the bedding, and saw that there were touches of green in it. So I picked out the green scrolls, and played around with those.

And had hubby give his second opinion again for decal placement.

And then, decoupaged those down, and put a few coats on top of everything. I then used a green ribbon and attached it to the back so it could be hung on the wall.

This was a super easy project that cost me under $5 and just a little bit of time. And you won't have to worry that someone else already bought them the same thing.

Miss E's parents loved it, which is always the best part of any gift. Welcome to the world, Miss E! You lucked out with some pretty awesome parents.


Linking up to

Anything RelatedThe DIY Show Off

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Easy but Fabulous Paint Chip Wall Art

This project was featured on Knock Off Decor! Can I get a what what!

I had a wall in my kitchen that was just begging for some art. I first saw this idea on Mod Podge Rocks and fell in love with it. I saw a cute version on The Boatwright Family Blog too. This was originally inspired by this piece on the Ballard Designs Website. But who wants to pay almost $300 for something you can make for under $10?

My first stop was at Home Depot for some paint chips. I grabbed a stack of different colors (sorry, Home Depot) and brought them home. I then laid them out and removed some of the colors that didn't work.

I then measured the smaller side, and it measured 3.25 inches, so I got out my cutting mat and my exacto blade and cut the longer side down so it'd be a square. Then it was time to do some math. I knew that I wanted the final piece to be a square, so after doing some multiplication, figured out that my final piece would be 32.5 by 32.5 inches, so 10 squares by 10 squares. So I had hubby stop by Home Depot on the way home from work, and pick up a piece of 4x8 plywood for $8, and they cut it down to size, for free. I heart free. I also had him pick up some blue paint chips, since my neutral color pallet was looking a bit blah. I then painted all the edges of the board a dark brown.

So my next step was to lay out all of my squares, and figure out my pattern. Then I stacked them in order.

So after I stacked them, I laid out a handful of them on a tray covered with tin foil, brought them outside, sprayed them with 3M spray adhesive, brought them back inside, and laid them down and used a card to smooth them down. Then did that about 4 billion times until I was finished with the whole board.

Then, after those were done, I put mod podge on the board and brushed it out. I did three layers of mod podge. I like texture, so I made sure there were a lot of brush strokes in my layers.

I let those dry for a day, and then got out some wood stain. I used Minwax "Dark Walnut". I would put on a layer, take most of it off, let it dry, and then repeat. I did three layers of the stain.

Hubsters says I always look mad in pictures. I think I look like I'm concentrating.
If after you put on all the layers of stain, but there are just a couple of paint chips that are still too bright, you can just put the stain on those ones, let it sit, and then gently wipe it off.

Excuse the camera flash, it was the only way I could get the mod podge texture to show up. The stain would settle in the crevices, but I like that.
One of the things that hubby and I loved so much about the Ballard Designs piece was the gold sheen to it. So on the final coat of the mod podge that I put on top of everything, I added some shimmery gold craft paint in a ratio of one part gold paint to 4 parts mod podge, give or take.

So after you have your super amazing hubby hang it...

You are left with this!

You can see the gold sheen in this pic.
Hubby told me to "Vanna White" it.

*I stacked my paint chips in order from 1 to 100.  But somewhere between stacking them, spraying them with glue, and laying them out, they got out of order. Luckily I was going for a random pattern, so it didn't matter anyway. But if you're going for a specific pattern, it'd be worth numbering them all. Don't press too hard, or you'll see the indentations on the front.
*Use a darker stain than you think you'll need. Since you're wiping most of it off, a lighter color isn't going to show at all. Always remember that it's easier to add than it is to remove.

Are you going to make one? I had the mod podge, stain, gold paint, and 3M glue already. So with the free paint chips (Thank you Home Depot), I paid $8 for the board. And I have a ton of wood left over, hubby wants me to make an all blue and gray one for the master bathroom. So this project cost me under $10.

If you make your own paint chip art, please link back and let me know so I can check it out. Happy Crafting!


Linking up to these parties...

mmm button