Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hiding from the Neighbors

We rescued this from our neighbor's trash--much to my embarrassment.

Actually, let me clarify. I saw it on the curb, but didn't have the guts to grab it. I called my husband to ask him about it. He said he saw it on his way to work, stopped to look at it, but it was too decrepit to save. The short story is that I bugged him about and he stopped and picked it up on the way home from work that day. Whew! It sat in our garage for a while. He gave it menacing looks every time he glanced at it. I just kept telling him what I envisioned.
What do YOU think?

We used the wood from a playhouse we made a few years ago (and then took apart recently because it was too big for our basement) to redo the table top and the tops of the benches.

The supports underneath were also rotting, so my husband made new ones from the leftover wood from this craft and this craft. He figured out how to screw it all together with pocket screws and it was ready for its day at the paint spa.

We primed then painted it an apple green (leftover from painting my girls' room) mixed with an outdoor paint left over from our sandbox redo (another post!) that was off white. After mixing it, it was a little more pale than I wanted, but I actually love the color. It is exactly the same color I used on the backing board for a shelf I just painted (also another post!). I wanted to stay away from traditional colors, but I was a little worried about this looking like an Easter egg. I think I am safe because, after I added all of the other colors, it is just "eclectic".

Then, I used the Silhouette to cut out a place setting and used the "negative" to adhere the vinyl to the table. It took a long time and a lot of patience to lay this out, but it worked perfectly.

Then, I painted using both craft paint and spray paint. I used my girls' favorite colors whether they went together or not. I wanted to make this project without spending any money at all, but I would definitely recommend only spray paint in the future. It dried so much quicker and smoother, of course!

There was some smudging and mistakes, but I wasn't worried for this project. (Ok, a little--it bothers me, but it shouldn't!) Next, I added a few details like flowers, dots, and a simple monogram.

Finally, it got a coat of clear sealant and we are ready for our picnic in style!

You gotta love the way it reinforces a correct table setting in such a sneaky manner! I know lots of adults who can't remember where to put everything. And, the neighbors whose trash we took this from have wandered past and blatantly stared at us working on "their" table. Bet they wish they didn't throw it out!

Hmmmm . . . Maybe I should invite them over for a picnic!

I'm linking this project HERE.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Caught my Eye!

I recently had my annual eye exam and got reamed by the doctor for wearing my contacts longer than I am supposed to. You would think I would run and hide when I saw THIS post at Out of the Crayon Box which happens to be one of my favorite blogs to read. Instead, I was instantly in love with the eye chart as an anniversary gift! It's quirky and sappy-without-looking-sappy and I knew I needed to make one for MY anniversary which was right around the corner.

Luckily I saw this just in time!

And, I'm hoping Jane is on board with imitation being the sincerest form of flattery because I completely copied her and thought about how smart and creative she is the whole time I worked on this project!

Jane discovered THIS site to make your own eye chart. The problem is that the bottom line of text is supplied for you. You may know or have figured out already, I am a bit verbose for that--I needed all of the letters!

So I found a way...and I will share!

[1st] Choose your text/lettering. I chose a Beatles' song since that is my husband's  favorite music and the lyrics made the message easy. Make your eye chart HERE and print it out to use as a guide--not necessary, but nice! It is especially helpful to see how your text will actually look once you break it up for the chart.

[2nd] Now make it yourself! Type in your text using a GeoSlab703XBd BT font. I did quite a bit of research on font styles and sizes for making your own accurate chart. Sadly, that didn't work for me. I decided I would use that as a guide to make a good looking similar chart!

 No need for accuracy--not checking eyes here; just hearts!

In the end, I made my chart in Photoshop because I could place the lines of text more accurately (especially the little lines) without having to deal with changing the spacing. I did most of it in Microsoft Word, though, before I switched so I know it works pretty well there, too. Here are the font sizes I used with the GeoSlab703XBd BT font:

Line 1 (top): 172
Line 2: 130
Line 3: 108
Line 4: 87
Line 5: 65
Line 6: 43
Line 7: 33

[3rd] Print it out on a nice paper or cardstock. I printed mine on 9x12 (cheap and used a coupon!) sketch paper from Hobby Lobby. It came in a notebook and was cream on one side and white on the other. It looks like linen paper but is thicker. Love it!

[4th] Frame it in a simple frame to look more accurate authentic.

[5th] Wrap it up in whatever fashion you choose and gift away!

Want it?
If you would like my Microsoft Word(unfinished) or Photoshop (psd file) version of this, just leave a comment or send an email ( telling me which file(s) and I will send it to you as an attachment so you can change it any way you would like without some of the set up work. SEE UPDATE BELOW.

I'm linking HERE this week--check out these great blogs, too!

UPDATE: You can now download the files without emailing me. Just click on the links below. Still loving the comments, though, so don't forget to tell me what you think! You are welcome to download as many as you want as many times as you want. Please be sure to link back and let me know if you use my idea.

Photoshop WORKABLE version (PSD) go HERE
PDF document (Exactly the same as my chart--not workable) go HERE
Microsoft Word version (docx)--this is unfinished but workable--go HERE

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Christmas is NOT in July!

I know you thought I forgot, but I didn't. You might say I am trying to can be a little overwhelming at times!

I have to say, the single best thing I did to plan for Christmas this year is to make a little list that has a special place! I know right where to go to write ideas down as they come to me or when family members mention things they like. And, I have to admit, I love having it on paper--simple and quick!

I love the links that are in the Chistmas Linky at the top of my blog just below the header picture. I see so many great ideas and such creative talent out there and I am glad some of you stop by to share it here. I want to make everything there so far! If you have a fun handmade item or craft, please share!

Nancy, from Nancy's Couture, had THIS great idea that she shared on my Christmas Linky. Isn't this a great idea? I am thinking about using this idea as a grandparent gift this year--can't you just see it with all of the grandkids pictured?

HERE is another great resource for gift planning and making. The person who runs this site contacted me and told me she thinks about this stuff all year long since she travels around Christmas time. Her site is simple and straightforward and packed with lots of ideas. Be sure to check it out--and these ideas can be used year-round so you will want to bookmark it for sure!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Story About Our Queen

One of my daughters is a little bossy assertive. She is the youngest and yet she kind of rules our house. We are her loyal subjects and she is the Queen.

When I found this cute chair at a thrift store, I told her it was just her size. I knew I could do something cute with it.

She was in love and told me she wanted it to be pink (of course). I didn't think about that--I wasn't thinking pink. But, like many other things I do for her, I just did it. All it took was a little wood filler for the holes, primer, and 2 coats of spray paint. 

Then, a little idea occurred to me. I decided to add a few vinyl words of my own. And, really, what does she care? She can't read yet.

BAHAHAHAHA! I got the laugh on this one--who's Queen now?

I am quite sure my laughing won't last long, but it was a quick and easy redo!

The moral of this story is probably something along the lines of
 "Easy come, easy go."

But, this also serves as a great reminder: Bringing new life to old stuff doesn't have to be difficult or complicated or involve a huge time commitment.

Sometimes, it just takes a small effort to make a change that is just right!
Linked here today!

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Definitely NOT for the birds!

We are teaching our daughters a little family history and made small and simple pedigree charts

It is amazing to find out what they don't know--especially when we thought they knew some of this stuff!

My daughters were so surprised just to learn the full names of their Grandmas and Grandpas. We don't live close to any family members and they don't see them very often so this was a great way to make it all a little more real.

I made most of the parts for this on my Silhouette machine, but it could be just as easily done with stickers, stamps, or  drawings. The birds were precut in lots of colors so they could pick which ones they wanted. I laid out the materials and they were so excited to be given free reign and even use some things I don't normally let them use!

We gave them some ideas of how to set up their trees so that it showed a pedigree and then let them go for it. The two older girls did a fabulous job and, although their pictures look pretty similar at first glance, they are actually pretty different.

To make the nest, I used a rectangle shape that is basically a label. I smeared most of the personal info on the birds' nests, but it is a full name on one line and the birth date/death date on the next line. I showed my girls how to carefully stick the nest on over the bird so the birds appeared to be in the nest.

My youngest daughter was happy to use the distressing ink to "paint" and then play with the cutouts and other art materials. It kept her quite busy while I made a pedigree chart for her!

A few hints if you would like to make a simple pedigree chart of your own: First, this project takes longer than it looks like it will take! My daughters were pretty meticulous, but even though a lot of it was made into stickers and they just stuck them on, it took quite a while. Also, I highly recommend having everything ready to go. I helped out a lot with little things and it was really nice (like any project!) to be able to have everything right in front of me and not have to run around for it. This was especially true with all of the small parts, though. Finally, this project used lots of small pieces that needed pretty good fine motor skills to manipulate. If you are planning it for younger children (under 7?), be sure to tailor your project for their skill level. You could make a larger/less detailed tree and skip the distressing for sure.
I love the finished product!

They were pretty proud of themselves, too.
So, I framed it and hung it in my girls' rooms!

I'm linking this project HERE.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


The first thing I plan for any holiday is the fun treat for my girls.
For this year's Fourth of July celebration, it will be these little candy bracelets. Small, simple, and so sweet!

You, too, can easily make these in just a few minutes. All you need is candy, ribbon, a large needle with a large eye, and clear tape.

Instructions: Tape the ends of your candy to make the wrapper more sturdy so you can put your needle through it without the wrapper tearing through to the edge. (No picture because I couldn't get it to show up--sorry!)

Thread the ribbon through the needle and leave a short tail.

Push the needle through the end of your candy wrapper. Push it back through the opposite end so the ribbon runs the length of the candy. You could also let your candy dangle like charms by pushing the needle through only one end, but I didn't want that much candy on each bracelet!

Tie your bracelet in a bow.

I told you it was an easy one!

I made a few with navy blue ribbon, too. They seem a bit more sophisticated--can you call candy bracelets "sophisticated"? I thought it would work well for boys, though.

And, don't forget candy necklaces, too!

My daughters told me they are sticking with the bracelets, though--more candy!

I'm linking this idea HERE.
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