It's teacher appreciation week at Paxton's school, and BOY do I appreciate those teachers! :)
Each day has a theme, so I tried to comply as much as possible:
- Monday: "Cards of Love" - a super-cute free teacher appreciation printable from Balancing Home
- Tuesday: "Pamper the Teacher Day" - scented hand sanitizer from the $1 bins at Target
- Wednesday: "Bouquets of Love" - hand-made fabric flower pins
- Thursday: "Special Luncheon" (no gift necessary)
- Friday: "Sweet Treats" - whoops! I better make cookes for Friday!
The tutorial for making the fabric flower pins can be found here. Though this time, instead of cutting flowers, I just cut circles - same result, easier cutting!
Next, I found this adorable free Teacher Appreciation printable last week and thought it would be perfect for the "cards of love" day.
I downloaded it - which gave me this (8" x 10) print in gray and white.
Next, I opened the PDF file in Photoshop Elements and used the used the paint bucket tool to change the background to teal to match my pins & the hand sanitizer labels.
Then I used a "wallets" action from The Coffee Shop Blog to turn one image into 9 wallet-sized cards.
Then I printed them, cut them out, rounded the corners and signed Paxton's name to the back.
Finally, I added punched star-shaped tags to the hand-sanitizer, and called it a gift. Easy Peasy.
Here's a look at last year's Teacher Appreciation Gift: Chapstick Pockets
I've made a few of these baby's first year albums for family and friends, and thought I'd post a quick little tutorial for how to make them. They make great baby shower gifts or even a good way to get an easy album for your own kids made before the baby is born! Plus, it's easy to fill in and keep up with!
Start with a 3-ring binder album. I like the We R Memory Keepers Faux Leather albums with a bookplate spine. This one is navy, though it looks black in the photo.
Next, pick a patterned paper collection to use throughout the book. For this album, I used the Basic Grey Oliver Collection. The collection pack comes with some alphabet stickers and themed stickers as well.
Create a front page. I like to leave a photo mat for a 5 x 7 photo. I like to think it'll be filled in with a newborn photo.
Each month of the year gets a calendar journaling page. I just made a template in Microsoft Word, added the correct numbers for the month, and then printed it on gray cardstock.
Once all the pages are printed, to make it a little more handmade I add a stamped month & year and a few strips of patterned paper. These pages are housed in regular 8.5" x 11" page protectors.
Next, for each month, I make double-sided journaling tags, and fill in the spaces of a 2-up photo sleeves page protector. Each tag gets a journaling stamp & some patterned paper details. Later, the tags can be filled in with journaling information about the photos that are added from that month.
The last page for each month is a printed "milestones" page to record important details like height, weight, eating and sleeping habits, etc. This page is also printed on gray cardstock with patterned paper details. I made the template for it in Microsoft Word. For this particular album, I used my Silhouette to cut the numbers for each month as well.
All that's left is a "one" page at the end of the book. Again, I left a photo mat for a 5 x 7 photo to be added later.
It's a pretty easy-to-make, assembly-line style album and can be completed in a couple of days. Since it's handmade and can be personalized to match the decor for any nursery or with the baby's name, etc., it makes a special gift.
Here are some other versions of the album that I've made before:
Inspired recently by the really cool white pumpkin w/black lettering trend, my sisters-in-law and I had a girls night and made our own versions.
Here's how we did it:
Peel back the excesss vinyl, leaving the lettering and design.
Then press the transfer paper to the design so that you can place it easily on the pumpkin. We used large artificial white pumpkins (purchased at 50% off from Michaels.)
Gently peel back the transfer paper and press the vinyl onto the pumpkin, revealing your design.
We decided to add a thin coat of matte Mod Podge over the design, to be sure it stayed put (since the adhesive vinyl didn't seem to be well adhered to the pumpkin. Plus, we thought we might display our pumpkins outside and wanted to help keep them from peeling.
I was so happy with how they turned out, and amazed at how easy it was to do! Here's a look at all three of our creations:
We aren't the only ones with awesome black and white pumpkins. Here are some versions around the web that inspired our evening:
Looking for a fabulous new addition to your fall decor? How about a custom Sign by Andrea? For a limited time only, these seasonal custom-designed hand-painted signs are only $20!*
Trick or Treat? - black w/white lettering - 2ft x 6in - $20
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Count Your Blessings - brown (as shown) or black w/white lettering - 2ft x 6in - $20
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*$45 regular price. $20 fall special runs through November 9th, 2011. Both sign designs are also available with optional beveled edges (+$5).
Don't forget to check out my other personalized sign designs when you order so you can combine shipping costs. It's not too early to start thinking about holiday gifts!
I don't do much seasonal decorating around the house, but when Halloween and Christmas roll around, I am willing to pull out my bucket of decorations. The kids have a blast seeing all the little goodies that have been boxed away for a year, and it's a nice transition into the holiday season. So, even though our little plastic pumpkins and homemade decor are pretty basic...we do make an effort. :) And I say "we" because Ayla and Paxton were VERY involved in the process...they even helped me clean the house so that we could bring in the decorations.
Here's what we ended up with for our fireplace mantle in the playroom this year for Halloween:
My altered halloween house is my favorite decoration for this season, and the glittery pumpkin and "boo" garland is definitely a kid-favorite - especially since Paxon's favorite color is orange right now (he points it out everywhere).
I framed my "Being a Family" poster and included it on the mantel too (it & the other photos sit there all year).
In the kitchen, we went for a more subtle decorating technique -- but I LOVE the element of surprise. Check out our gallery wall and all the little masked friends! I saved the black cardstock masks I used from last year so that all I had to do was find a photo that fit and stick 'em to the glass.
Plus, I made this trick or treat sign and have a special place in mind for it on our front porch (pictures coming soon!):
Since the weather finally cooling off this week, it's definitely starting to feel a little more like fall around here! Might as well look like it too. :)
Except now Ayla and Paxton think Halloween is MUCH closer than it is. They don't really understand that it's still a whole month away...They've been walking around the house carrying little pumpkin bags, knocking on each door and saying "trick or treat" and handing each other toy cars and pretend candy. Silly kids.
A while back, I made myself a jewelry organizer for my closet from a picture frame, wire and fabric. But, after dropping earrings on the floor over and over and over again (because of the fabric backing & wire not having enough space between them) I decided to give it another shot with a new design.
I went digging in my garage and came back with two metal cube panels, several nails and some ribbon.
I liked the idea of the metal cube pieces, because if you face them the right way, the cross-bars leave a natural space between them and the wall that allows the earrings to hang freely. Plus, using the grid means I can easily stagger the earrings so I can see them all well and they won't get tangled up together.
I used ribbon to tie two panels together and secured the top two corners with screws. The bottom is secured with one screw to hold it still.
Since this grid solution didn't work for my necklaces, I simply added some staggered nails directly to the wall.
Let's hope this solution is a little more user-friendly! I'm not the only one looking for a great jewelry organizing solution. Check out these great ideas that I found on pinterest:
While I was out of town for the month of July, traveling with the kids, Ben enjoyed 3 1/2 weeks of solitude at home. That's a lot of time for itty bitty handyman projects!
Among many nice little surprises, I came home to shiny new doorknobs on all our outside doors (yes, he changed the locks while I was gone!), new shelves in the pantry, and a brand new mailbox. And, if you have seen our old mailbox, you know that this was a WAY overdue project - as in we probably should have done it the day we moved in 4 years ago.
So, since he very nicely waited for me to get home to add numbers (because he knew I'd want to paint my own street number sign like the one by our front door), I figured it was time I got on that project before another 4 years passed. We were looking for a make-it-better, but it-doesn't-need-to-be-perfect look, so within a 5-minute conversation we made a quick design decision and I got to work.
Here's a look at our old mailbox, the new mailbox I came home to, and then new mailbox w/a snazzy new paint job on the post & a brand new street number sign.
Though I certainly wouldn't be opposed to some color at the street (I do love these colorful mailboxes), Ben is a little more conservative in his outdoor decor choices, so we opted for a make-it-blend, not too fancy monochromatic look. So all I did was make two beveled 1ft street number signs, give the post a new coat of paint, and slapped that baby back together. I started at noon, and was done with the whole shebang by dinner (didn't want to miss any mail!)
Yes, some flowers would look nice at the bottom of the post. Maybe someday! One project at a time...
Here's some more mailbox curb appeal for your day!
- turquoise & red mailbox
- unusual mailboxes (some silly stuff here!)
- mailbox makeover (I won't lie...she did it better than me!)
Except now I really want one of these:
How's your mailbox looking these days?
A few weeks ago I learned how to make a large t-shirt into a fitted tee shirt. Very cool, right? But...I still had some trouble figuring out how to make the sleeves look right since the REALLY big t-shirts had such low shoulder seams. Plus, the necks seemed awfully high and confining on some of the shirts I tried it on.
Since I'm NOT a seamstress of ANY kind, I went looking for some solutions and landed on this scoop-neck version that I think might be just what I needed.
Here's what I started with and the link to the tutorial for how to get from a large t-shirt to a fitted t-shirt:
It worked great with my navy fire department shirt, but with this shirt, I wasn't happy with the neckline or the sleeves, which meant I hadn't worn it yet and wasn't sure whether I liked it. So, I figured it couldn't hurt to get a little scissor happy on it again in an effort to "save" it once more.
Here's how it's done:
Lay your shirt on a flat surface.
Make a small snip on each shoulder about an inch from the collar. You can also put the shirt on and mark where you want to cut, but I've found that about an inch works perfectly for me, while keeping the shirt on my shoulders (instead of becoming an off-the-shoulder shirt).
I also make a cut down the center of the front collar, so that I have a mid-point to cut towards to make an even scoop across the front.
When you've finished cutting the front scoop, it looks a little like this:
Cut the back of the shirt straight across directly underneath the collar band.
Next, try on your shirt and mark where you want the length to be cut. I just used my scissors to cut a little hole on one side. (PS...I don't recommend holding a camera in the other hand while snipping! That's just for this tutorial pic!)
Lay the shirt back out on a flat surface and begin cutting across the bottom of the shirt where you marked.
I like to cut a small curve in the front, and then fold it over to match the other side.
For this shirt, I decided not re-cut the sleeves (yet), but you could cut them just after the shoulder seam to give the shirt an even more cropped-sleeve look. I'm going to try this short little sleeve out first and see what I think.
But that's it! It's significantly more comfortable with this neckline, and (I think) a little more fashionable. My husband still rolls his eyes and just sees me in a cut-up tee shirt. But that's a guy for you. :)
I have these two t-shirts that I love. They're soft, comfortable, and have good worn (and sentimental) designs on them. But, I never wear them for anything other than around the house because they are large men's t-shirts and look completely shapeless on me. Then I found this great tutorial on YouTube for how to make a big t-shirt a fitted shirt! - T-Shirt Surgery: How to Make a Shirt Fit
So, while I was staying with my mom at her camper this summer (she lives & travels in an RV), I asked her to help me try it out. So yes...we broke out the sewing machine next to the campfire. Strange, I know, but it gave us a project to work on!
First, a before & after look at the t-shirt we did. Oh yeah, I know you love those electric blue fingernails. :)
So, here's how it's done.
Start with a t-shirt you love that's just too big
Turn the shirt inside out and lay a shirt that DOES fit you on top of it, lining up the collars so that you can be sure it is centered over your large t-shirt.
Trace the shirt that DOES fit you onto the large t-shirt. Turn both shirts inside out so that you don't mark on the front of the shirts. I used a sharpie, but you'd be better off to use a washable marker, chalk or a fabric pen. When you do the sleeves, try to make your line parallel to the top shoulder.
Next, fold the large t-shirt in half to make sure that the armpit marks line up. Mine did match up, but if yours don't, you can just re-mark them to match.
I went ahead and pinned the front and back of the shirt together, so that it didn't slip while we were sewing.
Sew along your traced lines. Or, in my case, have your MOM sew along the traced lines. :)
Try on your shirt (inside out) to see how it fits. Mine was still a little big, so we sewed it up again about a 1/4" more on each side. Then it looked like this:
If you like the fit, then you can trim off the excess fabric.
Turn the shirt right-side out and try it on. You can leave it as is, with longer sleeves, or you can cut & hem them - which is what I decided to do.
While I was wearing the shirt, I marked with a pin the length I wanted the sleeves to be. Then I took it off, turned it inside out again and drew a line. Okay, two lines, because I remembered that I wanted to angle the sleeve a little bit. Then I cut about 5/8" past the line (to allow for a hem).
Try it on and make sure it looks the way you want it to look.
Fold the shirt in half and cut the other sleeve to match.
Hem both sleeves.
You're done! Try it on & love the new look - preferably with cute jeans...not gym shorts and bright blue fingernails. :) But hey...we don't all do our crafting while looking our best, right?
Thanks to brianagayle for the video tutorial & tips! I'll be using this technique often I think. :)
No time to make your own? I love these tees (and no sewing machine required):
I love how Heather used the format of my Dated Wall Art poster, but then added her own twist, featuring her & her fiance's birthdays, their wedding date, first date, and engagement anniversary. What a great idea! And let's not forget that fabulous white painted frame around her gallery wall...it grounds it perfectly! Well done. Thanks for sharing how you used your (de)Signs by Andrea poster in-action.
She's not the only one either! Check out these great ways others have used this design & idea:
ixoye307 on flickr