Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In This Home... {DIY Wall Art}

One of the great things about making decorations for your home is that you can personalize them to fit your family. A few months ago I found the inspiration for this project on the Dali Decals website.


As soon as I saw this idea I knew I would be making a spot for it in my home. The only problem was I wanted it to be more "us", so I asked my kids and husband for their input on what it should say.  Between the 3 of them they came up with LEGOS, cupcakes, and dancing.

I decided to place our saying on a 20"x30" picture frame, because we haven't painted our family room yet and I didn't want to have to remove it when we do paint.
 Using the Silhouette Studio program that came with my Silhouette, I began experimenting with different fonts.

Once I had settled on fonts and what I wanted it to say, I used my Silhouette to cut the vinyl to apply to my picture frame.  

This was my very first project I had ever done with my Silhouette, and to my delight applying the vinyl to the picture frame glass was surprisingly easy. I have now used it for so many projects around my house I couldn't even begin to count them. 

After I had applied all the vinyl to the glass, I used 6 pieces of cardstock taped together to make the background. When you choose your cardstock, make sure pick a pattern that can be matched up. This will make your seams less visible.

This is a fun piece of "art" for your home that can be personalized for any family, and made to match any decor. If you make your own version I would love to see it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Melted Crayon Art

Back to school sales are in full swing. This is one of my favorite shopping seasons. There are so many supplies you can stock up on to use throughout the year to help decorate your home. That's right I said decorate, and I am not just talking about all the brightly colored bedding they have out for college kids now. 

The craft stores have bulk packs of canvases, paint brushes, and other art supplies on sale for all the art students going back to school. I usually pick up a few different sized packs of canvases and use them all year for projects around the house. 

Another thing I always stock up on are crayons. There are so many projects besides coloring you can do with crayons. Melting crayons almost always ends in something neat.

I made these three crayon art pieces for our playroom.

Canvases (I used 16"x20")
Picture Frames (I used 16"x20" frames and removed the glass)
Crayons (I used Crayola)
Hot Glue Gun & Hot Glue Sticks
Heat Gun (I highly recommend using a heat gun and not a hair drier, because a hair drier will cause more splatter and you will get a messier look)
Cardstock (optional)
Glue Stick (optional)

1. Place your canvas in your frame. Lay your crayons on your canvas in the order you want them. (This seems like a silly step, but it will help you determine how many to crayons to use. If you attach the crayons without the canvas in the frame you may end up placing the crayons where the frame overlaps the canvas.) 

2. Using hot glue, glue the crayons to the canvas. (I recommend only gluing 1 or 2 at time, because if you run glue the entire length of the canvas it with harden before you can attach the crayons to it.)

3. Remove the canvas from the frame. 

4. Stand the canvas against a wall, at a slant. This will allow the wax to run down the canvas and not just drip straight down without hitting the canvas. (Make sure to protect the surface under the canvas.)

5. Using a heat gun melt the crayons. You will be able to tell when the wax is going to run quickly and when to move your heat gun because the crayon wrapper will begin to look wet. I made several passes with the heat gun allowing the the wax that had run to set up a little before going back and melting it more. This allowed me to control the amount of blending at the top and allowed me to have some short and long wax runs. It also gave me layers of wax, which I think adds a neat texture to it.

6. After the crayons have cooled, you can break off any wax globs at the bottom and place the canvas back in its frame.

I made the two with flowers the same way as above. I just flipped them upside down when I was done. 

I made the cardstock flower petals, by 2 different sized hearts using my Silhouette. I then folded all the hearts in half and glued the smaller hearts on the inside the larger hearts. Once I decided how I was going to arrange the hearts, I then attached them to the canvas with an Elmer's Glue Stick.

I also attached some of the small hearts by themselves to make smaller flowers and petals.

The kids had fun helping me arrange the crayons and loved watching them melt, so be sure to include your little ones when making these!


Friday, July 27, 2012

DIY Fire Starter Wafers

We have several Scentsy warmers in our home. I usually dump the used wax into a jar, but when I came across this post by Jremm's outside I knew I had found a use for all the used wax.

These wafers are super simple to make. All you need is melted wax and cotton pads (the kind you find in the beauty section at Target).

I used my Scentsy warmer to rewarm the wax that had lost it's scent, but you could just as easily melt a candle or wax in a pot on the stove. Just make sure it is an old pot you don't care about, because I doubt you would ever get all the wax out of the pot.

When your wax is melted, dip one of your cotton pads into the wax. 

Once your cotton pad is coated (it only takes few seconds), remove it from the wax using tweezers or another tool and place it on a piece of wax paper to cool. After the wafers are cooled you can store them in a plastic baggie, until you are ready to use them.

To start a fire, make a small tear in your wafer. This will give you some cotton fibers to catch on fire.

Once you have torn the wafer you can set it on fire, and let it burn, baby, burn.

 Then sit back and enjoy the S'morey goodness.

To say I am not an outdoors person, is probably an understatement. So how these rate to other commercial fire starter items out there I have no idea, but they worked very well for what we need.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

DIY Camera Bag

I have had the same ugly, boring, bulky, black camera bag for the past 5 years. 
Now I change my camera bag as often as I change my purse!

About 4 months ago the hook that attached the shoulder strap to my old camera bag broke. My plan was to make a camera bag insert and place it in an old purse I had. Then I realized that the padded insert came out of my camera bag (approx 10"x7"x6"). 

Now I just stick the insert in whatever bag suits my needs for the day.
My two favorite bags to use it in are my Kate Spade diaper bag (approx. 18"x11"x8") , and an Elle mustard colored bag that I purchased on clearance from Kohl's (approx. 15"x9"x7").

The great thing about the Kate Spade bag, is that it holds all the extra stuff I lug along for my kids plus keeps my camera safe. I love carrying the Elle because it is smaller and cuter. It has just enough room for my camera and my essentials. I have placed the insert in many other purses, but these just happen to be my favorite ones because of their ease of use. Plus these purses zip close which I consider a must when carrying my camera, just in case it rains or something spills on the bag.

This was a great solution to my camera bag problem since I already had everything. No cost for me....Yay! It would also be a great solution for someone who finds an ugly camera bag with a removable insert for free or cheap. 
If you can't find an insert to use, you can always make your own, like Ashley from Make It and Love It. My recommendation for making one on your own, is to make it a size that will fit in many of your bags. That way you can keep it fun and change your bag when you want.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Taco Pasta Salad

I love having salads as sides for all of our summer grilling.
It makes dinner quick and easy.
One of our favorite salads is Taco Pasta Salad.
It is a very refreshing salad to have on a hot day, plus we just love the flavors.

1 - 1lb. box of pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions
(I use wagon wheel pasta. I like how everything gets stuck in the spokes, and they are easy to pick up on a fork)
1 - 16 oz pkg frozen corn, thawed (you can use fresh if you have it)
2 - 15.5 oz cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 - large tomatoes, diced
1 - 24 oz jar chunky salsa (I used my favorite jarred salsa, Great Value White Corn & Black bean Salsa)
1 - 8 oz pkg Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoon chili powder
pinch fresh ground salt
pinch fresh ground pepper
1 large bunch of cilantro, chopped (I used about 1 cup because I love it)

1. Cook the pasta. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. In a large bowl, mix corn, black beans, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese.
3. Gently stir the cooled pasta into the salsa mixture.
4. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper together.
5. Pour the olive oil mixture over the pasta mixture, add cilantro, and gently mix.

I hope you enjoy this easy salad!

Linking Up With:
Tip Junkie
Addicted 2 Decorating
Little Inspiration 
House of Hepworths
Family Home and Life 
The King's Court IV 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How To Use PicMonkey To Create Word Art {Tutorial}

Yesterday I mentioned that I used PicMonkey to create the sayings I hung with my family command center.

Today, I thought I would show you how I did it.

First, we will create our background. The main purpose of this is to create a background that will print the size of the frame you are using.

1. Choose "Create a collage"

2. Decide what size you want your word art to print (4x6, 5x7, etc.)

3. Under your collage it shows the dimensions 1024 x 1024. You need to unlock these dimensions by clicking on the little lock.
*Tip: If you hover your curser over the lock you will either see "Unlock proportions" or "Lock proportions". You want it to say "Lock proportions".

4. Using the chart below change the dimensions to the size you would like. Do this by clicking on the 1024s individually and typing the number for each from the chart. Hit "ENTER" on your keyboard after entering each number.

 I usually use the numbers from the "High Quality" column. You may need to reverse the numbers to get the orientation you want. (For this tutorial I am making an 8x10. Using the numbers from the High Quality column I entered 1920x2400. This will give me an 8x10 in the portrait orientation.)

5. If you would like to change your background color; select the art pallet on the left-hand side, and choose a color. If you would like to keep it white you can skip this step.

 6. You can now save your background by selecting "SAVE" on the page and following the prompts.

7. Return to PicMonkey's main page.
8. You can now drop and drag or upload the background you created to the "Edit Photo" section.

9. Select the "P" on the left-hand side of the screen to get to the text editing function.

10. Here you can type your text, choose your font, and edit you font. The font editing is very similar to many word editing programs.

You can use the circles at the edges of your text to resize your font, and the circle at the top to rotate your font. If you place your cursor over you text you will be able to drag it to the location of your choosing.

11. You will need to create new text boxes for every different font or size of font you want to use.

To do this, unselect the text you have already typed by clicking outside of the square surrounding your text.

You can switch back and forth between your different sections of your text, to edit or move it, by placing your cursor over the text you want to choose and clicking on it.

 12. You can now save your word art by selecting "SAVE" on the page and following the prompts.

TA DA you are done!

If you are printing on your home printer, make sure you set your printer options to print to scale. If you are sending somewhere to be printed you are all set!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Time To Get Organized

We are quickly coming to the end of July, and all I can think about is managing my kids' schedules once school starts. In previous years, our schedule was centered on my daughter's preschool classes and dance class. This year she will be in kindergarten and my son will be entering preschool. In my mind I see more papers, more activities, and more chances to forget something. 

My first priority was to minimize the papers that accumulate on our kitchen counter. By creating a semi-organized place to keep them, my hope is that it will be less likely for me to misplace something important.  

My second priority was to make our schedule available to everyone in our home. In the past, I kept my schedule on my phone and would just relay the information to my husband on a need-to-know basis. Even though my kids won't be able to read or reach or schedule yet. I think it will be good to start teaching them where to look for important information, so when they are older the habit is already in their heads.

I decided creating a family command center would work best for collecting our mess and keeping our general schedule. I started by trying to figure out what would work best for my family by "pinning" ideas on Pinterest.

My first thought was to place the command center in our family office. I then realized that there are days I don't even walk in there, so having it in there didn't make much sense. The garage entrance is the entrance we use 99% of the time. I ended up placing the command center as soon as you walk in the garage door. That way it'll be the first thing you see when you walk in the house, and the last thing you see when you walk out.

The items I decided we needed for our scheduling needs were; a dry erase calendar, a main note-board, and a note-board for each of the kids. For our paper issue we needed a bin for each of the kids' papers, and bins for our mail, budget notebook, receipts, and coupons.

The calendar and memo board are by Board Dudes. I purchased them Target for about $13.00 each. I had considered making my own, but these were dry erase and magnetic. I know I couldn't make them dry erase and magnetic for that cheap.

The calendar was actually silver when I purchased it. I just taped it off with painter's tape and a garbage bag. Then I spray painted it with the $0.99 black paint from Wal-Mart I already had. 

The 'Y' is from ACMoore. It was originally white, and I used the same paint I used for the calendar to paint it black.  

I found the wire baskets and the 2-bin wooden organizer at Marshall's.
I used a white Sharpie Paint Pen to write on the metal bins. The horizontal bin will be used for the kids' papers. The vertical bin will be used for our budget notebook, and mail. The wooden organizer will be used for our receipts and coupons. I labeled it by using my Silhouette to cut white vinyl and then applied it to the wooden organizer.

The two square frames are from ACMoore. All I did was place a piece of card stock in each of them. I plan on using them for notes specific to each child whose bin is directly under them.

To hang everything I took some of my kids' drawing paper and made a paper version of how I wanted it to look on the wall. I marked nail holes on the paper to try to make it easier to hang them.

Once I placed the papers on the wall I realized that it looked lower than I had envisioned it. Unfortunately moving it higher was not an option. I am 4' 10.5", and for me to use the calendar without a stool it had to stay where it was. I already need to stand on my tiptoes just to write the month...LOL

While my husband went to work hanging everything, I went to work creating something to hang above it. I chose three sayings that I thought were fitting reminders for everyday. Then using picmonkey I designed the sayings, printed them out on card stock, and placed them in 3-8"x10" frames I already had. 

Pinspriation1, Pinspiration2, Pinspiration3 

So far the command center seems to be working well. Once the school year starts we may end up changing something if it doesn't work for us. I'll be sure to keep you updated if I find something that works better.


If you would like printables of the the sayings I used in my command center you can go here.

If you would like to make you own word art printables in Picmonkey check out this tutorial.

If you would like to read an update on how we like our command center, and the changes we have made you can go here.

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